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Full text of "The jay-hawkers; a story of free soil and border ruffian days"



iV-7.289] APPLETONS* ^^°"'- 

Town and Country Library 






PUBLISHED SEMIMONTHLY 



July 1, 1900 



$12.00 PER ANNUM 



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THE JAY-HAWKERS 

A Story of Free Soil and 
Border I(uffian Days 

By ADELA E. ORPEN 

AUTHOR OF PERFECTION CITY, ETC. 




^ 



CNTCReO AT THE PO(T OFFICE AT NEW VORK AS tECONO-CLASS MAIL MATTER 

D. Appleton and Company, New York 



THE UNIVERSITY OF 

NORTH CAROLINA 

LIBRARY 




THE WILMER COLLECTION 

OF CIVIL WAR NOVELS 

PRESENTED BY 

RICHARD H. WILMER, JR. 



THE JAY-HAWKERS 

A STORY OF FREE SOIL AND 
BORDER RUFFIAN DAYS 



BY 

ADELA E. ORPEN 

AUTHOR OF I'EKFECTION CITY, ETC. 




NEW YORK 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY 

1900 



Copyright, 1900, 
By D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, 



All rights reserved. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER PAOK 

I. — The rendezvous 1 

II. — Nancy Overton 10 

III. — The fatal shot 20 

IV. — The deluge 30 

V". — The banks of Jordan 38 

VI. — Back into slavery 49 

VII. — The brand of Cain 58 

VIII. — Aunt Monin's story 72 

IX. — Aunt Monin's freedom 88 

X. — A suspect 102 

XI. — The buffalo hunt 119 

XII. — Help at need 134 

XIII. — Ridgway's diplomacy 147 

XIV. — The hired man 162 

XV. — Confessions 177 

XVI. — Off to the wars 191 

XVII.— Bushwhackers 203 

XVIII. — Delenda est Carthago! 214 

XIX.— Slave driving 227 

XX. — The task of Sisyphus 237 

XXI. — Aunt Monin's quest 247 

XXII. — The burning of Lawrence 266 

XXIII.— Nancy missing 282 

XXIV.— The rescue 290 

V 



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THE JAY-HAWKERS 



CHAPTER I 

THE RENDEZVOUS 

A HAZY autumn afternoon, with a bright sun send- 
ing slanting rays of shimmering light across the wide- 
stretching jDrairie; a lazy brown horse plodding along, 
while his rider lurched sleepily from side to side as if 
dozing in the saddle, and nothing else to be seen as far 
as the eye could reach. The horizon was like the open 
sea, limited only by the height of the point of view. It 
stretched away measureless to the west, and was only 
stopped in an equally measureless career toward the 
southeast by a belt of timber showing purple-blue 
against the copper-gleaming sky. It was toward this 
belt of timber that the sleepy horseman was riding. 

He was a large man, lean and brown, with long, 
sinewy arms and bony fingers that seemed as if made 
to grip and. not let go. His bronzed face was devoid of 
beard, revealing a square Jaw and firm-set mouth, while 
beneath his low hat were two gray eyes, by nature keen, 
but Just now dull with drowsiness. 

The drowsy eyes managed now and again to scan the 
horizon for a moment in a mechanical sort of way. In 
one of these sleepy surveys the half-shut eyes detected a 
small speck, not stationary, but creeping languidly along 
at right angles to the direction of our slumberous rider. 
In a flash the sleepy eyes awoke and fixed themselves 
piercingly upon that speck. The overhanging eye- 

1 



2 THE JAY-UAWKERS 

brows came sharply together, the horse was jjulled up, 
and for the space of half a minute the man's whole 
powers were concentrated in one steady gaze. The dis- 
tant speck ceased creeping, and for a like space of half 
a minute also remained stationary. Two specks gazing 
intently at each other across three miles of prairie and 
unable to make each other out. They moved on again. 
Our horseman, no longer sleepy, slung forward his rifle 
and looked at the cap. He even changed it for a fresh 
one from a tin box in his belt. He unstrapped his hol- 
ster and looked carefully at his pistol, and seemed 
almost to shake himself into a state of loose activity. 
One became conscious that his sinews and muscles had 
received orders to be at attention, ready for any demand 
that might be made upon them. A precisely similar 
course of overhauling and general preparation was pre- 
sumably in progress on the person of the other speck, 
whicli now began more visibly to take on the form of a 
man on horseback. 

" Making for the crossing," remarked our rider to 
himself. " Guess I ain't going to let him get to the 
creek before me." 

He gave his horse a touch of the spur, whereupon 
the horse woke up and answered. Horses usually do 
answer such a spur, for it was the sort called " Mexi- 
can," with rowels an inch long and smartly sharpened 
at the point. The rival horseman, if such he was, did 
not respond to the challenge of a race for the crossing, 
so that the big man on the brown horse had ample time 
to cross the water course. There was no river to cross, 
for the year of 1860 had been the driest known in the 
short-lived history of Kansas. The rivers were all 
gone out of the land, and rough and stony tracks alone 
remained as a memento of their former presence, with 
'here and there a pool, clear and deep, or shallow and 
slimy, according as it was fed by springs or was the 



THE RENDEZVOUS 3 

leavings of the dricd-up river. Our rider stumbled 
briskly over the stony river bed and then sat in a loosely 
expectant attitude on his horse, facing the creek. A 
casual observer might not have realized that he had 
assumed a position which commanded a full view of the 
track through the woods coming to the crossing, while 
a broken stump overhung by grapevines almost entirely 
shielded his horse and formed no inefficient protec- 
tion to his own person. It was in order to get behind 
this very stump that he had ridden so hard. He had 
some little time to wait, for the other rider was in no 
hurry. He came on at a leisurely pace through the 
woods, and even beguiled the time by whistling to him- 
self in a lively manner. 

" That coon Heaton! " said the big man as soon as 
the whistling fell on his ear, and forthwith he came out 
from behind the stump and rode down to a pool near 
the crossing, where his horse amused himself by alter- 
nately dipping his nose into the water and then blowing 
loudly at it. " Hullo, Mills! " observed the whistler in 
friendly salutation, breaking off abruptly in the middle 
of the alluring melody of Billy Boy. 

Mills made no reply, but watched the other man 
crossing the stony bottom, and then ranged up along- 
side of him and said in an interrogative manner. 

" Going? " 

"Yes," replied Heaton; "I suppose you're going, 
too." 

" Pretty near every one's in this ride, I reckon," 
said the first speaker, and they lapsed into silence, rid- 
ing side by side out of the bottom lands up on to the 
high prairie once more. Mills looked sharply at his 
companion's rifle, and then, after a length of time he 
remarked: " Hain't had it long, I reckon." 

" What? Oh, I see. It's my new rifle — Sharpe's 
carbine. It's only just come down from Kansas Cit}^, 



4 THE JAY-IIAWKERS 

and I thought I might as well hring it along, though 
of course we sha'n't want to use our weapons." lieaton's 
answer was really more in reply to his companion's 
inquiring glances than to his spoken words, which were 
very few indeed. 

"Ever shoot a man?" inquired Mills. 

"Lord, no!" answered Heaton in surprise at the 
question; and it was on the tip of his tongue to add 
that he had always lived in a civilized land, but he 
reflected in time that this remark might hurt the feel- 
ings of a Kansas man, so he refrained, and they rode 
on again in silence. 

" 'Tain't no sort like shooting buffaloes and deer," 
observed Mills, who seemed oblivious of both time and 
space in his conversation. " No, sir; I can tell you if 
it ain't. I've seen men as steady as the everlasting 
rock at buffaloes, and they couldn't hit a man at six 
yards. You see buffaloes hain't got rifles, and they 
don't shoot, and men mostly does, and that makes a 
big difference." 

" I dare say it is the sort of thing to flurry your 
nerves," remarked Heaton in considerable amusement 
at his companion's course of reasoning. 

" And the nearer the man is the harder he is to 
hit. That's my experience," continued Mills, in a medi- 
tative manner. " Guess it's because t'other feller's gun 
looks so all-fired big when he's close up you can't hit 
him nohow you fix yourself." 

He indulged in a silent laugh which seemed to 
afford him much inward satisfaction, but the only out- 
ward sign of merriment was a heaving of his big chest. 
Heaton, on the other hand, gave a big guffaw of amuse- 
ment, which showed that he was not an old hand out 
there. In fact, Heaton was a recent arrival from Ver- 
mont, a bright intelligent young man, a dare-devil, 
iiuiybe, but not at all u}) to the cautious craft of the 



THE RENDEZVOUS 5 

older settlers. He would, as we have seen, go whistling 
through the woods, although he knew there was a 
strange man in front of him. Mills got behind a 
stump and waited in a strong position to see who the 
other man might be. It was the difference be- 
tween five years' experience of Kansas and no experi- 
ence of it. 

" Last time I was over the border," resumed Mills, 
after another profound silence, "we were tracked by 
twenty Missouri men. They caught up with us just 
before we got to the border. There were thirty of us, 
but we had a considerable lot of truck and five or six 
wagons. We were blazing away as close as could be. 
Men and horses and guns don't get much nigher one 
another than we were. There wasn't anybody shot. 
What beats me is where in thunder the bullets go to. 
Might as well have been shooting peas for all the harm 
we did, or good either." 

" Well, there won't be any shooting this time," ob- 
served Heaton. 

" Don't be too sure of that. You can't never say 
for certain what there won't be in a Jay-Hawk ride. 
Old John Brown, he didn't like shooting. One time he 
was dreadful set against any shooting. Guess even he'd 
find it hard sometimes to get along now without it," 
remarked Mills. 

" You were one of his men, I believe," said Heaton. 

" You may bet on that. I've been out with old 
John Brown a good many times. He was the best 
leader I ever saw. Brown and Montgomery were the 
two best." 

"And you saw some pretty tall doings out here," 
observed Heaton, by way of encouraging his taciturn 
companion to talk. 

" Tall doings and low doings," said Mills emphat- 
ically, "• and doings of all sorts." 



6 THE JAY-IIAWKERS 

" You've been in most things, I guess/' said the 
younger man. 

" I was pretty generally round somewhere close. I 
was in Lawrence when it was burned, and I was at Ossa- 
watomie." 

" And still you think a man with a gun in his hand 
is hard to shoot at ten paces," said lleaton with a 
laugh. 

" Yaas," replied Mills with a grin; " mighty hard to 
shoot till you get used to the uncoimnon size his riilo 
looks." 

" You've a pretty correct eye for the size, haven't 
you? " remarked Heaton, looking at his tough compan- 
ion in some awe. 

Mills nodded. They rode along in silence for some 
miles, and at length came to a small log cabin standing 
just below the bluff over Big Sugar Creek. This cabin 
was usually a deserted-looking place, with no signs of 
children or chickens or the cheerful clatter of a settler's 
dwelling around it, but on the afternoon of which I 
write it was a scene of activity and excitement. Some 
twenty horses were hitched to various parts of the di- 
lapidated stake fence that surrounded the house, and 
four wagons with their big canvas covers stood near by. 
Men in riding boots, red shirts, and large hats were 
moving about everywhere, and the place presented an 
appearance of expectancy punctuated with rifles. A 
rendezvous clearly, and one that had been numerously 
attended. 

The arrival of our two horsemen was greeted with 
satisfaction, or it would be more correct to say that 
Mills's arrival was so greeted. Heaton's coming seemed 
to create no emotion whatsoever. A little black- 
bearded man, who was somewhat remarkable among 
the others, all of whom were clean shaven, at once 
hailed our friend Mills. 



THE RENDEZVOUS 7 

"I was waiting for you," said the little man in 
quick, sharp accents. " You are wanted to lead one of 
the bands. We shall divide into two companies and 
stampede as many negroes as we can, and get out again 
before the alarm is given. Sharp is the word. Those 
Missouri men are mad now." 

" You bet! " remarked Mills. 

" We'll march at daybreak, and be over the border 
by two hours after sunup. You are to go south by 
Hillsborough; I am going north. Gather up your nig- 
gers as spry as you can. Wagons to be filled only with 
women and children. We meet at the Mine Creek 
crossing. No shooting if you can possibly help it. 
Those are your orders." 

" All right, captain," said Mills, and the two men 
separated without a word of further conversation, al- 
though old companions in arms. They had serious 
work in hand, and wasted no time in idle words. 

" I am going by Hillsborough; you can come with 
me, if you like," said Mills later on in the evening to 
Heaton. " There won't be no use for your new rifle 
in my party, if I can help it." 

" I shouldn't join if there was," replied Heaton with 
a smile. " This shooting in the cause of freedom isn't 
to my taste, and there's no need for it either, I'm sure." 

" Wal, I dunno," replied Mills in a noncommittal 
tone. 

The men were busy feeding their horses, and as 
each one had at least one horse, there was very little 
time for idle talk. To Heaton, unused as he was to the 
silent manners of prairie men when out on business, it 
seemed almost as if they were regarding each other with 
suspicion. Instead of a free and hearty interchange of 
semijocular remarks, which is what the young man 
expected under the circumstances, these men spoke but 
seldom, and then very much to the point. 



8 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" Takin' heap o' bullets an' powder? " said one 
gray-haired man to another about his own age. 

" Pretty tole'ble. An' you? " 

" Eight smart chance o' bullets in this hyar belt o' 
mine," said the first speaker, tapping his anmiunition 
pouch. " I run out once in Missouri. Man feels pow- 
erful queer and skeery when he knows he's got his last 
bullet down his bar'l." 

The speaker strolled off to his horse, and Ilcaton, 
with the chattiness of his youth and nature, picked up 
the thread of conversation. 

" Do you expect to meet with resistance so that tlie 
rifles will have to be used? " he asked, more by way 
of opening the conversation with him who had boasted 
of his bullets than because he put much faith in what 
had been said. 

" Dunno. Missouri men is spry 'nough with their 
shooting irons, gin'rally speakin'." 

" But orders are to have no shooting," replied 
Heaton, not liking this free preparation for a battle. 

" Yaas, but them orders is on'y for this hyar ride, 
an' the gin'ral order's 'gin them," said the man, slowly 
buckling up his pouch. 

" What is the general order? " 

" Allers to shoot fust." 

Heaton laughed. " Oh, I suppose that is the law of 
Nature," he repeated lightly. 

" Eeckon I'll feed my critter," said his companion, 
moving off to where his horse stood tied to the fence. 
Ilcaton followed his example, and, having fed his horse, 
lay down in a corner of the fence to sleep as well as ho 
could until the dawn should send them on their way. 
But he found it difficult enough to compose his mind 
to rest. A thousand thoughts rushed througli his 
l)rain. Recollections of home mixed up with flashing 
visions of what might be before him in the near future. 



THE RENDEZVOUS 9 

ITis life had liitlierto rolled along in tlie beaten track of 
civilization, but now for the first time there was a possi- 
bility of his being in conflict with his fellow-men. He 
might have to fight for his life before another night 
came on. He might kill a man or be himself killed. 
The consequences of either alternative were tremen- 
dous. True " no shooting " was the order of the 
march, but that was an order qualified by that supreme 
principle which governed every man's action, of " shoot- 
ing first." Heaton couldn't help wondering, as he put 
his rifle into its case in order to keep it from the night 
dews, whether he should feel so alarmed at the size 
of the " other feller's " gun as to be unable to pull his 
trigger. But of course these were idle fancies. There 
would be no shooting. Certainly, as far as he was con- 
cerned there would be none. He fell asleep at length 
with thoughts such as these in his mind, and for some 
subsequent hours was engaged in a fruitless, but no less 
frantic endeavour to bring his rifle to his shoulder in 
order to shoot some man who was already sighting him 
behind a most alarmingly capacious barrel. He never 
succeeded in finishing the dream, but awoke again and 
again to find his heart thumping loudly against his 
side and beads of perspiration standing thick on his 
forehead. The horror of the sleep and its dreams was so 
great that he got up two hours before the dawn and 
went for a tramp through the soaking grass. 

" I'm a pretty coward! " said Heaton to himself with 
a pang of shame. " The mere prospect of riding on a 
foray into Missouri has made me shiver with fright, as 
if I were a girl in a dark room where an owl screeched 
at her. Bah! What things are nerves! " 



CHAPTER II 

NANCY OVEETON 

A PEETTY girl standing in the sunlight, and a 
young man looking wistfully at her — what could be 
more appropriate on a bright afternoon? She knew 
that he was gazing at her, although she was not looking 
directly at him. Her eyes were cast down, but she felt 
his gaze, nevertheless. His glance pierced her sun- 
bonnet and dyed her round cheeks rosy red. She was 
not, however, of the meek order of humanity; so, red 
cheeks or not, she raised her eyes defiantly, and said: 

" No, I won't." 

" Why? " he asked, with a foolish manlike desire to 
be furnished with a reason. 

" Because I won't; that's why," answered she with a 
truly womanlike determination to withhold her reason. 

" All the girls are going," said he. 

" Then no one will miss me," said she. 

*' Nancy! You know you are the only girl I shall 
care to see," said he vehemently. 

" Then why did you mention the other girls? " 
asked she with a flash of her white teeth. 

" Because I thought it might make you want to go, 
too," said he. 

"Well, it doesn't." 

" Then I sha'n't go either." 

" The other girls will be disappointed." 

" Damn the other girls! " said he furiously. 

10 



NANCY OVERTON H 

" Oh, you bad man, how dare you say such a thing! " 

" You'd drive a man clean crazy," he said, jerking 
his bridle over his horse's neck. " I suppose that's 
what girls are made for: to torment a man like the mis- 
chief." 

" Women are made in order to train men," she ob- 
served loftily. 

" Thank you for my training lesson." 

He sprang upon his horse, dug his spur into the ani- 
mal's side, and dashed down the road in a passion of 
anger. The girl stood quite still, looking intently after 
him as long as his horse's thundering stride could be 
heard on the road; and then with a sigh she turned 
from the bars. 

" I should like to have gone to the corn bee," she 
remarked aloud. " I do wish he hadn't been the one 
to ask me. Men are as horrid as they can be! " 

She stamped her foot angrily, and in her black eyes 
there came a wicked flash. No, indeed, Nancy Overton 
was not of the meek order of womankind. Her black 
eyes, her full red lips, her rosy-red cheeks — all beto- 
kened good generous blood in her veins. She was strong, 
healthy, young, and pretty enough to be as impudent 
and as defiant as ever she liked to all the young men of 
the neighbourhood. It did not matter in the least what 
she did or what she said. They one and all fell madly 
in love with her just the same, and came day after day 
to sigh at her feet and to be driven away by her petu- 
lance, just as James Harte had been on this sunny after- 
noon of which I am writing. 

Nancy walked back to the house, a quaint rambling 
structure with a long veranda, commonly called " de 
po'ch " on one side, and a tall, friendly-looking chim- 
ney rising from the end. The house had begun life 
some twenty years before by being a log cabin, but now 
it had grown into quite a substantial dwelling, all of 



12 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

wood, of course, but none the less comfortably clad in 
garments of blossoming nasturtiums, roses, and fruit- 
bedecked vines. The deep, shady porch with its trails 
of climbing plants invited one to come in and rest from 
the glare of the sunlight. Two doors opened off it, 
each leading into a capacious room. In one of these 
rooms at the present moment sat a man to whom Nancy 
bore that softened and refined likeness which unmis- 
takably proclaimed that they were father and daughter. 
Overton was a bad-tempered man to all the world ex- 
cept Nancy. No one but Nancy ever dared to say " No " 
to him, and she only occasionally, when her woman's 
instinct told her she might do so with impunity. He 
sat beside a plain oak table, resting one hand heavily 
upon it, while with the other he flicked at his boot 
with a short cowhide whip. He looked up as his 
daughter entered, and she saw the black thundercloud 
on his brow. Even the dauntless Nancy quailed before 
that thundercloud. 

" Those free-state men are gathering for another 
raid, folks was saying up at Papinsville," said Overton, 
with a strong Missouri accent, but without making use 
of the oaths that usually garnished a Missouri man's 
talk. He never swore nor allowed others to swear in 
Nancy's presence, and the restraint he had exercised 
upon himself had finally resulted in clearing his lan- 
guage of oaths. Nancy's heart stood still with terror. 
A free-state raid was the ever-present dread of her 
life. 

" Has Jim Harte been here lately? " asked Overton. 

" Yes, father; he came to-day to ask me to the 
corn bee over at the Westertons. It is going to be the 
biggest bee that ever was here in this part. Every- 
body is going." 

" You can do as you like about going, Nancy, 
though those Westertons ain't regular downright Mis- 



NANCY OVERTON 13 

souri folks, and I don't like their notions. But I want 
you to remember that if Jim Harte gives warning to 
those Free-soil scoundrels about my slaves I'll shoot 
him at sight. Yes, if it was in the meetinghouse 
itself." 

ISTaney turned a trifle pale. 

" You'd better warn him. Or if that other fellow, 
Gleeson — he's another of those confounded Free-soilers 
— if he lets on the least wink and we lose our property, 
he won't wink many more mornings, for I'll shoot him 
through the chinks of his cabin. There are plenty of 
holes in it. I could do it as easy as not." 

" Father," faltered Nancy, pale to the very lips, 
" you wouldn't murder a fellow-creature." 

" 'Tain't murder. It's defending my rights and 
looking after my property. Those slaves are mine. 
I'll not sit by and see them stolen by a lot of rascally 
Kansas ruffians that only live by running off negroes." 

" I wish we hadn't any slaves, if it's going to lead 
to strife and bloodshed," said Nancy beneath her 
breath. 

"What!" exclaimed Overton angrily; "are you 
coming abolitionist bosh over me? Is that some of the 
stuff you've learned from Jim Harte ? " 

" Jim Harte never said much about it," returned 
Nancy, the colour gradually coming back into her 
plump cheeks. 

" If I thought he was going to teach you such non- 
sense he'd have to clear out of this and make tracks, I 
can tell you," said Overton, looking sternly at her. 

" I don't think Jim Harte teaches me much. I am 
teaching him," said Nancy, with a dimpling laugh. 
" At least he said so this evening." 

Overton's brow cleared, and he almost smiled back 
to Nancy. 

" Well, well, I reckon you can see to that 'most as 



14 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

well as any girl this side the Mississippi. But don't let 
me hear you talking that way again/' said her father. 

" Who said there was going to be a raid? " 

" A man who came over the line early this morn- 
ing. He said a man asked him was he going to join the 
ride from Bain's cabin. He shut up pretty quick 
when he found he was barking up the wrong tree. 
Only something is fixing at Bain's cabin, and that's 
where that old ruffian John Brown used to start his 
runs from. Sooner than let them get hold of my 
slaves I'd sell every one of them South for fifty dollars 
apiece." 

" daddy, daddy, you won't sell Aunt Monin! You 
mustn't sell Aunt Monin! " burst out Nancy with a per- 
fect wail of grief. It was so unexpected that her fa- 
ther was nonplussed for a moment and remained silent. 

" I'll have to sell every one if those Jay-Hawkers 
come hereabouts," he said somewhat apologetically. 

" But Aunt Monin — promise, daddy, not Aunt 
Monin," persisted Nancy. 

" I guess Aunt Monin wouldn't be much comfort to 
you if she was run off by free-state men into Kansas, 
where you'd never set an eye on her again," observed 
her father argumentatively. 

" She wouldn't ever go over the border away from 
me; I know she M^ouldn't. She won't ever leave me." 

" They wouldn't ask her leave, but would run her 
off all the same." 

" No, they wouldn't do that," objected Nancy. 

" How do you know the Jay-Hawkers wouldn't com- 
pel her to go, or any one else they came across in their 
raids." 

" They only want to set the slaves free," said Nancy 
unguardedly. 

"Who told you that?" asked her fatlier quickly, 

Nancy, perceiving her mistake, remained silent. 



NANCY OVERTON 15 

" Who told you, I say? Some dog of an abolitionist 
has been trying to get at you. It's that scoundrel Jim 
Harte! " said Overton, rising, while his brow darkened 
angrily. 

" It wasn't Jim Harte," said Nancy. 

" Then it was that other fellow, Gleeson; I always 
thought he was a spy." 

" Father, he's not a spy! " cried Nancy in a fright, 
knowing only too well what would be the fate of a spy 
in that land at that time. " It is a wicked thin or for 
you to sa}^, and if any harm comes to him through your 
saying he is one you will be accountable for it." 

Nancy was roused to show more feeling than was 
habitual with her. 

Her father looked keenly at her white face and 
flashing eye, and, drawing perchance a wrong conclu- 
sion, said: 

" Oh, if it's him you're hankering for you'd better 
look after him, and he'd better look after himself if 
he's going to play traitor in this county. The boys 
mostly do what you tell them to, Nancy; but it 'ull take 
more than your black eyes to stop 'em if once they 
get on the trail of a regular downright traitor." 

Overton walked toward the door, and, turning, spoke 
a last word: 

" Yankees ain't got no business here in Missouri, 
anyhow, and the sooner they're all cleared out the better 
for us — and for them, too." 

He left the room, walking with quick angry strides 
down the porch and on thence toward the fields. 
Nancy, left to her own thoughts, seemed to find the 
room too small for her, agitated as she was. Accord- 
ingly, after walking rapidly up and down several times, 
she, too, left it and hurried ofi^, but not toward the 
fields. The young girl ran round the house, across the 
yard, where many chickens, turkeys, and Guinea fowl 



16 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

were holding afternoon cackle, and entered a small log 
cabin some twenty yards away. This log cabin was tlie 
kitchen of the place, built isolated and far from the 
dwelling house, a precaution against heat, brought 
from southern Virginia by the owners of the place, who 
hailed from that State. The kitchen would have been 
utterly dark save for the light that came in through 
a door which was large and always open, both summer 
and winter. A huge fireplace occupied the entire end 
of the room, where three or four mighty logs smoul- 
dered away in a soft bed of white ash. Immense black 
hooks hung from the black cavern of the chimney, and 
a number of black pots, skillets, and baking ovens stood 
in a solema row against the wall. On the opposite side, 
in another row, squatted several little negroes, as black 
and solemn and motionless as the pots. Their beady 
eyes rolled in their heads as they watched the presiding 
priestess of this temple moving about with a rolling-pin 
in her hand. They would have loved to run hither 
and thither, and to peer into the tempting black pots, 
but were restrained by a wholesome awe of the priestess 
and a vivid recollection of the weight of that rolling- 
pin when she cracked it upon their woolly skulls. 

" Yo', Pete, yo' pison lazy nigga, jess scoot down de 
fiel' an' fetch me han'ful ingyons [onions]," said tlie 
woman with the rolling-pin. 

Pete reached the upright position via a Catherine 
wheel of remarkable velocity, and stood grinning from 
ear to ear, his red lips shining like two scarlet lines of 
sealing wax along his white flashing teeth. 

" Pike now, yo' nigga," said the woman, with a sug- 
gestive twirl of the rolling-pin over her head. Pete 
uttered a war whoop and was out through the door be- 
fore the twirl was half completed. All the other little 
niggers rolled their eyes to such an angle of excitement 
and interest that the whites alone were visible, they 



NANCY OVERTON 17 

licked their lips and showed their teeth like a row of 
manikins set in motion by machinery, but they never 
stirred from sitting on their small black feet, so perfect 
was the discipline maintained by the rolling-pin. 

Pete instantly reappeared inside the doorway, the 
blackest imaginable silhouette against the bright sky, 
and announced with exultation: 

" Young Miss Nancy, she done comin' clar down de 
ya'd to de kitching, she done." 

" Yo' clar out an' git dem ingyons right smart, or I'll 
stamp yo' two eyes inter one," said the woman in a 
clear musical voice, very much at variance with the 
purport of her words. Thus adjured, Pete departed 
after his onions, and in another moment Nancy stood 
in tlie doorway. 

" My honey-chile, dat yo' sweet se'f comin' ter see 
ole Aunt Monin?" said the negress, turning with 
eagerness to greet her visitor. 

Aunt Monin was a tall, large woman, with grizzled 
woolly hair, a black, shiny face, and the keenest eyes 
that ever kept track of the simultaneous impishness of 
six little niggers, all trying to steal her honey cakes 
as fast as she took them out of the oven. She wore a 
red turban twisted around her head, which made her 
look even taller than she was, a clean white shirt, and a 
blue cotton petticoat. Summer or winter, early or late, 
in snow and in sunshine, Aunt Monin was always Just 
like that. She never looked either hot or cold, but was 
always alert, clean, shiny, and as black as black could 
be. Aunt Monin was the cook and also the devoted 
servant of Miss Nancy, upon whom she lavished that 
wealth of love and love language that had accumulated 
in large measure in her breast; perhaps because she had 
no offspring of her own on whom to lavish it. For Miss 
Nancy were reserved such expressions as " honey-chile," 
" de summa rose," and many another, while for the 



18 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

little niggers, who were of her own colour, and who 
might have been supposed to lie near her heart, there 
was the rolling-pin. 

" Yo' niggas, clar out o' dat," said Aunt Monin, 
waving her long black arm around the cabin and point- 
ing to the door. In one instant the squatting young 
ones had tumbled pellmell out of the door and were ca- 
reering after the chickens and turkeys, to the infinite 
clatter of all concerned. 

" Miss Nancy, heart's delight, yo' jess come an' set 
yo' little pearl teeth in dish hyar honey cake," said 
Aunt Monin in a cooing voice, as if she was talking to a 
baby. 

" No. I can't eat; it would choke me," said Nancy, 
with a sob. 

" Lordy, Miss Nancy, chile, Avhat's wrong wid do 
Iamb ? " exclaimed Aunt Monin in an extremity of dis- 
tress. 

" Father says there's going to be a raid out of 
Kansas." 

Aunt Monin's eyes gave a great flash of light, as if a 
sudden joy had burst forth from their dusky depths. 

" And he says they'll come this way, maybe," con- 
tinued Nancy, idly poking a stick into the ashes and 
sending a thousand sparks flying up the chimney. Aunt 
Monin's eyes rivalled the sparks for brightness. 

" De Lo'd has hearn de voice o' de 'pressed an' de 
helpless," said she in deep and solemn tones. 

" But, Aunt Monin, you don't want to go and leave 
me? You won't, will you?" said Nancy, rousing her- 
self from poking the ashes, and looking up at the old 
woman in sudden surprise at this unexpected outburst. 

"Honey-chile!" said the negress in a caressing 
voice. 

" I couldn't bear to lose you, Aunt Monin. Every- 
thing is changing. It isn't one bit as it used to be long 



NANCY OVERTON 19 

ago when we were all so happy," said Nancy plaintively. 
" I don't see why people couldn't have stayed as they 
were." 

" Dere's gwine ter be changes, an' de Ian' will be 
made a wil'erness, an' de howl o' de wolf will be hearn," 
said Aunt Monin, who was a great person for holding 
forth to people of her own colour. Among them she 
enjoyed the reputation of being a sort of prophetess, a 
reputation perhaps largely founded upon her power of 
saying things whereof the meaning was not too clearly 
obvious. 



CHAPTER III 

THE FATAL SHOT 

Five horsemen were stealthily approaching Over- 
ton's house, keeping a sharp lookout as they rode, one in 
front, one behind, and three abreast in the middle. 

" Now this job has got to be done in less than no 
time, if we are to catch up with the rest of them before 
they get to the creek,^' said Mills, who was in command. 
He rode in the centre, having Heaton on his right and 
his son, a lad of seventeen, on his left. His keen eyes 
seemed to take in everything, and yet he had no appear- 
ance of being in a fluster; on the contrary, he was calm 
and matter of fact to a degree which Heaton found hard 
to imitate, conscious as he was of a distinct quicken- 
ing of his own pulse now that the time for action drew 
near. 

" It 'ull be spryer if we divide, won't it, dad? " said 
young Mills, who had been preternaturally silent during 
the ride, but upon whose obtuse mind the approaching 
crisis seemed to have a vivifying effect. 

" That's so," said his father, vastly gratified at this 
exhibition of cuteness on the part of his offspring; and 
then turning to Heaton, he continued. " There ain't 
goin' to be no fuss here, 'cause there ain't nobody to 
make it. There's only a gal in the house. Guess you'll 
go an' talk to her a spell while we get them niggers to- 
gether. You'll kinder bo agreeable an' keep her from 
runnin' off to give the alarm. Guess you can do that 
20 



THE FATAL SHOT 21 

sort o' thing real well, an' you'd be a long sight cuter at 
it than Tom would." 

He grinned at his son and winked at Heaton, who 
did not feel at all gratified at the task allotted to him. 
To try to talk agreeably to a young girl and to engage 
her attention while his companions were running off her 
slaves was not heroic. He would much prefer not to 
see the girl at all, and so he told Mills. 

"Afraid of her screeching? Land sakes, man, if 
you're as squeamish as all that what in thunder did you 
come on this ride for? But you needn't be scared 'bout 
that. She won't screech, 'cause we hain't goin' after 
the furniture of the house. Women folks don't ever 
holler till you begin to bang 'bout the chairs and beds 
an' things in the house. They mos'ly don't mind the 
slaves bein' run off. It's the men gets mad then," 

" I hearn tell there's ole man in the house," ob- 
served Tom Mills, stimulated by the paternal praise to 
make as good a show as he could of his new powers of 
usefulness and suggestiveness. 

" Wal, wal, if there be, 'tain't no great shakes. You 
can speak to him kinder positive," said Mills, addressing 
Heaton. " Guess I'd better go round straight to the 
nigger quarters an' see an' git them all started quick. 
Nigger babies is mighty slow to pack, anyhow, Ole 
man Weaver'll go roun' by the field an' get in the ban's. 
They're boun' to be all out thar to-day," 

Heaton listened to this plan of campaign in consid- 
erable disgust. His part seemed not at all attractive. 
This is frequently the feeling of actors when their roles 
are being allotted. He intimated to Mills that he would 
far rather go to the fields and gather up the negroes. 

" No, no; you're too soft to handle niggers," re- 
plied that very outspoken individual. " You just git 
'long an' keep the gal quiet. You'll do it fust-rate." 

Heaton felt angry as well as humiliated. 



22 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" And the old man? " 

" Keep him quiet, too; can't yon? " replied Mills 
curtly. 

This completed the young man's discomfiture, for 
he could not help seeing that he was looked upon as a 
sort of no-account, who was told off to do the silly work 
that no one else would undertake. He even began to 
feel vexed at that girl who was the unconscious cause of 
his himiiliation, and resolved to make no attempt what- 
soever to entertain her, but simply to order her to be 
quiet. There is nothing that galls a young man so much 
as to be thought wanting in resource or energy when in 
the presence of hardy frontier men such as these that 
Heaton was riding with on this his first Jay-Hawk raid. 

Mills rode into the negro quarters — a collection of 
log cabins at some distance from the dwelling house. 
His advent was greeted by a chorus of shouts, barks, 
and cackles, according as boys, dogs, and chickens be- 
came aware of his presence. 

" Friends," began Mills; but no sooner was the well- 
recognised formula heard than a shout arose of " Free- 
soil men! Free-soil men!" intermingled with howls of 
" The Jay-Hawkers! the Jay-Hawkers! " None but 
these ever addressed negroes as " friends." From every 
cabin came the slaves, all women and children, flocking 
around Mills, the little ones almost rolling beneath his 
horse's feet. 

" Oh, mas'r, mas'r, de Lo'd has hearn our voice. 
De Lo'd be praised! "We's gwine ter be free! Oh, 
Lordy, Lordy! Oh, Mas'r Jay-Hawker, take me, an' me, 
an' me! Oh, mas'r, take us all! " 

These and many other passionate, incoherent shouts 
and exclamations greeted Mills's ear as he sat on his 
horse looking down at the eager black faces beneath 
him. A huge negro, over six feet high and of hercTi- 
lean build rushed around the corner of the huts, his 



THE FATAL SHOT 23 

mouth open and his great eyes almost starting out of 
his head. 

" We's gwine ter be free ! " he yelled with panting 
gasps. " Susanner we's gwine ter be free! Why don't 
yer shout Glory, halleluiah! now? Dish am better dan 
de eomin' of de Lo'd yer allers prayin' 'bout. We's free 
niggas now." These remarks he addressed to his wife, 
a meek-looking mulatto woman with sad black eyes 
heavy with unshed tears. She stood silent among the 
shouting throng, holding her little black baby in her 
arms. The big negro seized the little black baby and 
held it aloft in one mighty hand, while with the other, 
clinched as if for fighting, he struck out toward the 
sun. 

" Yo'll nebber shine on me no mo' a slave," he said 
fiercely; " no, an' yo' won't shine on dish hyar nigga 
boy a slave." 

He shook his fist in the face of Heaven. 

" De Lord's will be done! " said the meek-eyed wife. 

" We's free niggas, whedder or no," replied her 
husband as he laid the baby again in her arms. 

Csesar was Overton's biggest and strongest slave, 
and would have been his most valuable one except for a 
certain fierceness of temper that nothing could tame. 
In the hope of making him less savage his master had 
insisted upon his marrying Susannah, a gentle mulatto 
woman much given to praying, and for a time Csesar 
had appeared to be content. But when his boy was 
born the wild, untamed savage spirit within him awoke 
once more. He was forever brooding over his condi- 
tion and cursing God for the brand of slavery which 
was set upon his child's brow. His prayerful wife used 
to be speechless with terror at his wild ravings some- 
times. And though Overton had no idea of the depth 
of his feelings, he had not failed to perceive that Csesar 
was a dangerous negro, who would lead a revolt or head 



24 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

a stampede with courage and ferocity. Accordingly, 
his doom was sealed. He was to be sold South, to work 
away his life in the cotton swamps of Louisiana. The 
sale had actually taken place, and Csesar, although he 
knew nothing of it, was at this very moment the prop- 
erty of a New Orleans dealer, and was only left with 
his old master until the dealer had his troop of slaves 
ready to start down the river. Then, Overton flattered 
himself, he would be forever rid of Caesar and his rebel- 
lious influence. In this transaction Susannah had, of 
course, not been considered. She was to remain where 
she was and be given to some other man. Slavery did 
not sanction indissoluble marriage. 

The arrival of Cffisar, although it has taken some 
time to explain, was in reality the affair of a couple of 
seconds only, and his deep shouts had scarcely added a 
bass to the noise of the shrill screamings of the women 
and children when suddenly all the clamour ceased. 

A sharp, quick sound silenced them all, even the 
dogs. 

A rifle shot rang on the still air. 

" The sentinels, by gosh! " exclaimed Mills, start- 
ing in his saddle and jerking his pistol out of its holster. 
" Back to your quarters! " he called, and the negroes 
melted out of sight. 

A long, wailing scream in a girlish voice came from 
the direction of the house. 

" That fool Heaton has shot the gal," said Mills 
between his teeth. " The damned Yankee sinner! " 

He put spurs to his horse and dashed up to the 
house. 

When Heaton, in pursuance of his orders, had sepa- 
rated from the rest of the party, he rode quietly to the 
house, dismounted, tied his horse to the bars, and 
abruptly entered the room just opposite him. The sud- 
den change from the dazzling light of the open air to 



THE FATAL SHOT 25 

the semidarkness of a well-shaded room at first bewil- 
dered him. He did not clearly perceive either the con- 
tents of the room or its occupants. All he could make 
out was the vague figure of some one lolling back in a 
rocking-chair. Heaton concluded this to be the old 
man of his companions' report. 

Accordingly, he walked straight up to him and said: 

" I'm a Jay-Hawker. We've come in a band to free 
your slaves. Eesistance is useless; we have surrounded 
the house." 

Overton, who had in reality been half asleep, opened 
his eyes without the slightest a^Dpearance of alarm. 
Heaton, now more accustomed to the darkness of the 
room, began to notice that so far from being an old man 
he was a man in the prime of life, and a singularly de- 
termined-looking one to boot. He began to wish that 
he had not come alone on the mission of keeping the 
folks in the house quiet. Still, as the most dangerous 
thing he could do would be to show any hesitation in his 
manner, he stood his ground steadily enough, holding 
his rifle in his left hand, with his right hand resting on 
the stock. Overton gave him a steady glare of defi- 
ance, and without taking his eyes off the young man 
said, pointing to a corner of the room, " Get it." 

He had observed that Heaton was a very young fel- 
low. He noted that his revolver was still tightly 
strapped up in his holster, instead of being unfastened, 
ready for instant use, as it should have been. Overton 
knew the regular Jay-Hawker well, and he came rapidly 
to the conclusion that he had to deal with a greenhorn 
whom it would be quite possible to overcome, notwith- 
standing the surprise of the visit. Heaton heard the 
words, but could not imagine what they meant or to 
whom they were addressed, not being aware of the pres- 
ence of any one in the room except the man who was 
glaring at him with such unflinching firmness. A mo- 



20 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

ment of breathless silence. Heaton heard a rustling 
sound, but dared not take his eyes off the man before 
him, who had risen to his feet and showed that he was 
both tall and powerfully built. 

Heaton now brought his rifle to full cock, grasping 
the barrel with his left hand and putting his finger on 
the trigger. He would have nothing to do but to aim 
and pull if it should come to the worst. 

The rustling sound came nearer, and into his field 
of vision there protruded a rifle barrel. It flashed 
across him now what the order had meant and what the 
rustling was. 

A woman was handing a gun to the man. 

" If you touch that gun I'll shoot you! " he ex- 
claimed in a high-pitched, agitated voice. 

It was all the work of a second, but Heaton always 
retained the impression that it was a slow proceeding — 
a most horribly slow proceeding, lengthening out into a 
hideously protracted span of minutes, hours, almost. 
The man reached out his hands for the gun, taking it 
with seeming awkwardness, muzzle foremost, from a 
woman who now appeared from somewhere, suddenly, as 
if she had started up from the floor. The man, with the 
muzzle of his gun in his hand, was rapidly getting it into 
position. The time had clearly come for obeying that 
supreme general order of " shooting first." Heaton 
wondered stupidly, or thought he wondered, how he had 
so quickly reached that order after entering the room. 
He couldn't understand it. But instinctively he under- 
stood that rifle barrel that was going to point toward 
him. The man was turning it. Was he quick at get- 
ting his weapon into position? He (Heaton), he had 
heard men say, was very quick at bringing his gun up 
to the shoulder and taking aim. Now was the moment 
for quickness. How leaden-weighted his barrel seemed! 
Would this amazing weight make his hand tremble? 



THE FATAL SHOT 27 

Was he sighting too high or not high enough? Good 
God! He could see nothing; neither the sights, nor 
the man, nor anything. This, then, was the blindness 
of shooting which came upon men and prevented them 
from hitting an enemy even at ten feet. This was what 
Mills and the others had referred to. 

A loud report rang through the room. 

A shot had been fired. Had he fired it? Heaton 
did not feel certain. Yet he must have done so, for he 
had received the kick of his gun in the shoulder. In 
all his hunting experience he had never before fired 
without knowing he had done so, and knowing when he 
had pulled the trigger. 

The other man stood opposite him, but — ah, what 
was that? He was gradually sinking backward, and his 
gun was falling from his hand. 

It fell with a crash. He raised a nerveless hand to- 
ward his breast. The hand fell back, and then he, too, 
fell back with a heavy thud. 

Through the room rang the loud, piercing scream of 
a girlish voice. Heaton stood still in a daze, seeing 
nothing, all his faculties stunned by that scream that 
echoed and re-echoed through his brain. Had he not 
been in such a daze he would have seen that the girl was 
picking up the gun from the floor, where it had fallen 
beside the man, and was feverishly endeavouring to pull 
up the cock with her trembling fingers. He would have 
seen that after two failures she succeeded in getting it 
at full cock, and that she was raising it to her shoulder 
as she knelt upon the ground with one knee. He would 
have seen that she was aiming straight at him, only he 
was so bewildered by that scream in his ears that he saw 
nothing. The heavy barrel was pretty steady, and in 
another second the trigger would have been pulled, 
when the inner door burst open and a tall negress 
sprang into the room. With a bound she was beside 



28 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

that kneeling girl with the rifle to her shoulder, and 
with one swift blow of her long arm had struck the bar- 
rel up. 

" Vengeance is mine, say de Lo'd. Honey-chile, 
what yo' go f o' ter do ? " 

Heaton's senses began to come back to him. 

" You tarnation fool, what did you shoot him for? " 
somebody was saying to him, and people knelt down by 
that man on the floor. A girl began to sob and say, 
" Father, father! " in such a piteous voice. 

"Plumb through the heart! Wal, you are a cool 
hand, anyhow. Not one mite flurried in your aim, and 
your first man too, I guess." 

It was Mills who was speaking, and his words filled 
Heaton with a fierce loathing. He stumbled out of the 
room so as to get away from him, and also from that 
wailing cry of a girl's heart-broken grief. But he 
could not get away from it. It seemed to be following 
him, and to be continually ringing in his ears. 

The place was alive with people. Negroes, awe- 
struck, running about, with here and there a Jay-Hawk- 
er giving orders. The sentinels had come in at the sound 
of the shot, not knowing what was to follow. " See that 
no one gets away to give the alarm," said Mills in the 
midst of the excitement. " Here, Heaton, you go. 
Stay at the fork of the road and shoot any one trying to 
pass you. Don't let one get by. You're such a dead 
sure shot you can do it." 

" You bet he can, pap," said Tom Mills with a grin 
of admiring approval. Heaton had risen enormously 
in his estimation, and he was desirous of expressing his 
feelings. Accordingly, he stood by him as he unhitched 
his horse, and observed: 

" Bully shot that, an' in a dark room, too! " 

Heaton looked at him in dumb horror, and, mount- 
ing his horse, rode away. He rode fast to get away from 



THE FATAL SHOT 29 

that wailing voice, but it followed him. It seemed to 
he among the trees and to come down to him from the 
sky. He reached the fork of the road in a daze and 
looked up and down mechanically. What was he here 
for? Oh, yes, he remembered. To shoot people. Was 
this to be his fate for evermore — to shoot people sitting 
in their own houses or walking along peaceful shady 
roads through the wailing woods. He put his hand up 
for his rifle, and discovered he had none. Ah, yes, he 
must have left it in that dreadful room where the man 
lay so still on the floor and the girl was weeping over 
his body and calling him, " Father, father! " 

He took his revolver out of its holster and sat mo- 
tionless on his horse, waiting for somebody to come by 
that he must kill. Surely this was hell, and his punish- 
ment was that he must go on killing, though his heart 
froze with horror and his brain was dazed with the wail- 
ing sound of a young girl's weeping. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE DELUGE 

While Heaton in remorse and misery was guarding 
the fork of the road, the rest of the Jay-Hawkers were 
collecting the negroes as fast as they could for the re- 
turn journey into Kansas. Mills ordered the wom- 
en and children to be placed in Overton's two-horse 
wagon, a proceeding which excited undue hopes in the 
minds of some of the younger members of the commu- 
nity. 

" Hooray, golly! Nigga woman ride in de ole 
mas'r's wagon! " yelled a stout fellow of sixteen, caper- 
ing about on his sinewy legs. " Dish nigga ain't gwine 
ter wo'k no mo'. I'se gwine ter be free an' nebber wo'k 
no mo' ! " 

" Go 'long, you young scamp! Eun and catch the 
pony down yonder in the pasture," said Mills to him. 

" Ain't gwine ter wo'k no mo'. I'se free nigga 
now," replied the youth with vast dignity. 

" Are you, by thunder? Take that! " said Mills, 
hitting him across the shoulders with a cowhide whip. 
The darky gave a duck to escape the blow and a howl 
to show his appreciation of it, and sped off to catch the 
pony as directed, " Yah, dat ole Jay-Hawker, he cut 
wid de lash jes' like ole mas'r done," commented the lad 
to himself. 

A black imp about ten years old came along with a 
battered hat full of fresh white eggs. 
30 



THE DELUGE 31 

" Yo', Pete, whar yo' done git eggs? " screamed an- 
other equally black imp of about the same age. 

" I done rob Miss Nancy's hen-roost," said Pete 
with a grin of delight. " I'se free nigga too. I steal 
ebbery day now." 

The exasperated Mills felt called upon to deliver a 
sort of Declaration of Independence on behalf of these 
poor creatures who were clearly labouring under a delu- 
sion as to the nature and duties of a state of freedom. 

" Look here, you all. Listen to me now. When you 
git 'cross Mine Creek you'll be in Kansas. You'll be 
free men an' women then." 

" Glory, halleluiah! Golly Neddy, oh! " they cried 
in chorus. 

" Shut up that noise, will you? You'll be free then, 
I tell yer. You'll have to work for all you have, and 
all you work for will be yours. You mustn't go an' 
steal from folks. If you do you'll git punished, so you 
will. If you steal horses you'll git hanged straight off, 
I can tell yer. These here horses an' this here wagon 
we're goin' to take 'long; they ain't bin stole. We're 
only takin' 'em in payment from your old master for 
the work you've been doin' for him while you were 
slaves. Now, do you understand? " 

"Yes, mas'r, we un'erstan'! " they cried unani- 
mously. 

" Well, then, git 'long now. Women an' children in 
the wagon, an' the men on the horses. No stealin'. 
Eemember, I'm boss now, an' I don't have no stealin' 
where I'm round. Now do you understand? " 

" Yes, mas'r, we un'erstan'! " they cried again. 

" Eemember, no stealin'," repeated Mills in order to 
drive home his argument. 

" We uns 'member, mas'r," said they with unction. 

Not two minutes elapsed before Mills beheld a 
couple of urchins standing on the balustrade of the 



32 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

veranda engaged in pulling down roses and grapevines 
by the armful. 

" Quit that! " he roared. " What are you stealin' 
those grapes for? " 

" We ain't stealin', mas'r," they replied with ear- 
nestness; " we's on'y takin' payment for de time we bin 
ole mas'r's slaves." 

" Clear out o' this, you young scoundrel! Don't 
you touch another thing, or by the Lord we'll leave you 
behind. You're only fit to be slaves, by gosh! " said 
Mills in a rage. 

A young black woman came out of the house at this 
moment with two hats on her head and one in each 
hand. 

" I'se on'y takin' dish hyar in payment — " she be- 
gan apologetically to Mills, who was sitting on his horse 
opposite the porch steps. 

" Take those hats back, curse you! Don't you lay, 
a finger on anything else, or, by gum, I'll flog you all 
round," said the luckless man, trying to stem the tide, 
the flood gates of which he had so easily opened. Other 
leaders besides the Kansas Jay-Hawkers have found to 
their cost that in aiming at some high goal they had let 
loose forces which operated in totally different direc- 
tions from those anticipated. Mills felt disgusted with 
the negroes, and also with himself, for having to flog 
into the most elementary honesty those very slaves to 
free whom he was risking his life. The negroes, on 
the other hand, considered him a very harsh master, and 
were in no little doubt whether it was worth being free 
imder such circumstances. To many of them freedom 
had no charms if bereft of the power of stealing. Hith- 
erto that had been their only form of retributive justice, 
and it was indeed a poor lookout if their first experi- 
ence of the delights of liberty was to be a restriction of 
their natural propensities in this line. The opinions of 



THE DELUGE 33 

people who have never possessed any property, but are 
merely chattels themselves, are likely to run in quite 
other lines than those of the owners of property. Mills, 
who was not a philosopher to trouble himself with any 
problems, did not reason this out for himself, but was 
content to observe that " niggers is all-fired thieves, 
anyhow," and he determined to see they were located as 
far as practicable from his own home in Kansas when he 
got them there. His interest in negroes was very sin- 
cere, but he preferred that his duty should be the excit- 
ing one of running them off out of Missouri, rather than 
the tamer, albeit equally useful one, of teaching them 
the elements of individual rights, first among which is 
that of respect for other people's property. 

The young woman with the hats retired to give back 
those trophies in a very discontented frame of mind. 

"New mas'r powerful ugly temper," she remarked 
to herself. " Miss Nancy, she heap sight better nor 
he." 

By this time the Jay-Hawkers had collected their 
negroes, the children were poking their black faces 
from under the canvas cover, looking for all the world 
like a load of inefficiently packed apes who might be 
relied upon to escape at the first opportunity. The 
men, with one exception, were either walking or were 
leading young horses and colts, which at a pinch they 
could ride. The one exception was that of an old 
negro nearly ninety years of age who sat on the seat in 
the women's wagon. All plantations used to have at 
least one very old man, whose duty it was to sit in the 
sun on summer days and talk to the passer-by. He was 
called " uncle " by every one, both white and black, 
and he usually was the repository of all the lore of the 
neighbourhood, besides having a good store of vague 
superstitions and traditional beliefs which came down 
to him from his African ancestors. Uncle Deedy was 



34 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

the oracle of Overton's plantation. He it was who 
could tell by the sound of the tree frogs' croaking 
whether it was " gwine ter rain befo' de mo'nin' " or 
not. Uncle Deedy could almost forecast the course 
of the world's history by the way the wild geese flew; at 
all events, their proceedings on the outward journey 
were quite enough to settle the weather for the coming 
summer, while the return flight to the south was equally 
valuable as foretelling the weather for the ensuing 
winter. 

Uncle Deedy, who for the last twenty years had 
passed an uneventful existence, picking up his chips 
and corncobs to light his little fire and smoking his 
stumpy pipe all day long, was immensely perturbed by 
all the noise and confusion of the raid. He didn't seem 
able to get hold of the right end of the subject at all, 
and kept asking was there going to be a prayer meeting, 
and what brother was going to preach? I have likened 
the small darkies to apes as they peeped out of the 
wagon; Uncle Deedy, with his grizzled half-bald head 
and his fringe of curly hair under the chin, was exceed- 
ingly like an ancient baboon. 

Meantime the raiders were becoming very impatient. 
They called out several times to Mills to know if he was 
ready to start. He looked around so as to make quite 
sure that nobody was left behind, and there, on the top 
step of the veranda, standing in the full sunlight, with 
her red and yellow turban gleaming above her shining 
face, stood Aunt Monin. 

" Hullo, my good soul, you're just in time to be 
saved. Jump into the wagon," said Mills cheerfully to 
her. 

" I'se jess in time ter ax de blessin' o' de Lo'd for de 
chillun," she ansAvered solemnly. " Bredern, yo' jess 
same like de chillun o' Israel gwine out inter de wil'- 
erness. De Lo'd go befo' yo' by day an' by night, an' 



THE DELUGE 35 

guide yo' to de Ian' o' Canaan. Yo'se gwine ter de 
promise' Ian'. Glory, halleluiah! " 

" Come 'long, granny; hurry up," said ]\Iills, impa- 
tient of the delay. 

" No, mas'r," she said, bringing her big eyes slowly 
to bear upon him. " De spirit o' de Lo'd is 'pon me ter 
dwell in de Ian' o' bon'age. I'se gwine ter stay wid my 
honey-chile. De han' o' de Lo'd is heavy 'pon her in 
'fliction. I can't go for ter leave de lamb. I'se gwine 
ter stay wid her an' comfort de chile's heart." 

" Come 'long. Aunt Monin," called out a woman 
from the wagon. " Come 'long inter de Ian' o' 
promise." 

" No, Susanner. I sha'n't nebber see de Ribber Jor- 
dan. I'se lef behin' in de Ian' o' trib'lation." 

" Look here. Mills, are you goin' to wait here till a 
nigger camp meetin' has sprouted, or are you goin' to 
start home this side o' sundov/n? " called out one of 
the impatient raiders from the road. 

" All right; go ahead," replied Mills, and then, 
turning to Aunt Monin, he made a last appeal. " Now, 
look here, friend. This here's goin' to be your last 
chance o' freedom. Will you come or not? " 

" No, mas'r, I can't go. De blessin' o' freedom 'ud 
be dus' an' ashes in my mouth if my honey-chile warn't 
'long wid me too. mas'r, my heart's growed roun' 
dat chile like yo' nebber can know. Ole Aunt Monin's 
gwine ter live an' die for her honey-chile." 

She turned as she said these words and slowly 
walked back into the house, while the women in the 
wagon set up a long drawn chant of Glory, halleluiah! 
They had meant it to be the song of triumph, but 
negroes always sing in a minor key, so that the sound 
which floated back on the still autumn air was that of 
women wailing together in sorrowful cadence. Fainter 
and fainter grew the sound as the wagons disappeared 



36 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

down the leafy road, until at last there was perfect still- 
ness at the farm — the stillness of death. 

Nancy was left alone with her dead. She seemed 
overwhelmed with the blow that had fallen upon her. 
Aunt Monin in vain tried to rouse her. Hour after 
hour she sat in dumb misery, mourning over the father 
who had been slain by the ruthless Jay-Hawkers. How 
long she would have sat beside that sad couch watching 
her father's face set in its last stern lines of anger and 
defiance there is no knowing. She was aroused out of 
her stupor in spite of herself by one of those convulsions 
of Nature that sometimes visit the Western plains. The 
day had been bright, almost beyond the brightness of 
even an October day. The trees were glancing into yel- 
lows and reds earlier than usual, owing to the hot sum- 
mer that had just passed. The sky was brilliant and 
clear, but in the northwest a small cloud " no bigger 
than a man's hand " rose about the middle of the after- 
noon. It spread and covered the heavens, and out of 
its lurid edges darted tongues of flame. A mighty 
wind heralded the storm, rushing through the woods 
with a roar, here and there tearing up those trees which 
had not taken deeply rooted precautions against wind. 
Behind the wind came the rain, and with the rain came 
the thunder and lightning, flash upon flash, peal upon 
peal. The house shook and the trees groaned. The 
rain came down in torrents that seemed to beat upon the 
shingle roof like pellets of iron. Never had there been 
such a storm known in western Missouri as the one 
which broke over it on the day when Overton was killed 
and his slaves were run off by the Jay-Hawkers. The 
storm in all its violence travelled from the west, and for 
years people used to talk about it, since it may be said 
to have closed the long and dismal chapter of the fa- 
mous Kansas drought, which went so near to ruining 
the young country in the early days of its history. The 



THE DELUGE 37 

gates of heaven seemed unlocked and the floods rushed 
forth. The rain of twenty months fell in half that 
number of hours. 

The storm caught the Jay-Hawkers as they were 
nearing the woods of Mine Creek. They tried to push 
on in spite of the fury of the gale, for they wanted to put 
the creek between themselves and any possible pursuers 
as soon as might be. But it was found impossible to 
proceed. The horses became absolutely unmanageable 
owing to the thunder and lightning, which were awful. 
Several of the young colts threw their riders and bolted. 
It was necessary to halt; camp it could not be called 
where no fires could be lighted nor grass pulled to make 
beds. The canvas cover of the wagon did not keep out 
the rain, and at any rate there was not room beneath its 
dripping roof for half the people who were collected 
under Mills's melancholy command. The children 
cried, the women wept and prayed by turns, and the 
rain poured unceasingly all night long. The negroes 
spent their first hours of freedom in the midst of misery, 
terror, cold, and wet. The strains of Glory, halleluiah! 
had quite ceased, and in their place came frantic pray- 
ers to be saved from a second deluge. They thought of 
the warm cabins at ole mas'r's plantation, and of how 
they had always there found shelter from the wildest 
storm, and many a regret was uttered for having left 
them. Freedom has its drawbacks. 



CHAPTER V 

THE BANKS OF JORDAN 

The storm raged all night long, but passed away as 
the sun rose clear over a world half under water. An 
hour or so after sunrise James Harte came to the deso- 
late house which the Jaj^-HaAvkers had raided. He and 
his horse were covered with mud, and they looked as if 
they had come both fast and far. Entering the sitting 
room, where Aunt Monin was coaxing Nancy to drink a 
cup of coffee, he went straight up to her, and, taking 
both her hands in his big palms, said: 

" Nancy, we've heard how you've been raided." 

" My father lies there, murdered," said Nancy, point- 
ing to the next room. 

" I swear to avenge his murder," said Harte. 
Nancy's eyes, dulled by a night of weeping, gave a flash 
as he said these words. 

" I'll avenge his death until the prairie rings with 
it. And then, Nancy, I'll come to you for my reward." 

" I don't even know who killed him. I tried to fire 
the gun myself, but Aunt Monin struck up the barrel," 
said Nancy in great agitation. She had hardly spoken 
since the tragedy of the day before, and now her nerv- 
ous excitement began to get the better of her, and her 
hands trembled piteously, although she tried hard to 
keep them locked together. 

" Poor Nancy! " said the young man, looking at her 
pityingly; " I'm glad you didn't." 
B8 



THE BANKS OP JORDAN 39 

"Why?" 

" Because then I couldn't have shot him myself, and 
I want to avenge you, ISTancy. I can do that to show 
my love. It's the first thing that I ever could do that 
you wanted. I'm glad old Aunt Monin struck up the 
gun." 

" You'll never be able now to find the right man. 
We sha'n't ever know who it was," answered Nancy. 

" I'll make sure and get him, anyhow," replied 
Harte with a significance that was entirely lost on 
Nancy, absorbed in her own sad thoughts. " I came to 
tell you the State militia's called out. We're going on 
the track of the Jay-Hawkers right away." 

" Aren't you a free-state man ? " asked Nancy with 
some slight show of interest. 

" I ain't now, I can tell you. I never had this 
chance before. I don't care who it was raided your 
farm, Nancy; I'm going 'long with the men to hunt 'em 
down." Harte made out, of course, that all this zeal 
was for love of Nancy. He did not feel it necessary to 
explain that he was under the obligation to give some 
striking proof of his loyalty to his Missouri neighbours, 
if he wished to escape their animosity. He was a sus- 
pected man, and he had to be extra zealous in order 
to turn away suspicion from himself. The best proof 
he could give was by joining in the pursuit of the re- 
treating Jay-Hawkers. If he could but avenge Over- 
ton's murder he would have such a hold on Nancy's 
gratitude that she would find it hard to say bim nay, and 
he could not disguise the fact from himself that hither- 
to he had made very slight progress in her regard, not- 
withstanding all his wooing. He determined not to let 
this opportunity slip. 

" How many men were here, can you tell me ? It 
will help us some to know how many there are out," 
said he. 



40 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" I only saw the one who came into the house," an- 
swered the poor girl with a spasm of pain. " Aunt 
Monin saw them; she can tell you." 

Aunt Monin, who had all along been in the room, 
apparently inattentive to what was going on, but in 
reality absorbed in listening to Qvery word, now looked 
up in innocent surprise. 

" Well, now, 'bout how many men were there, as 
near as you can calculate ? " he asked of the old negress. 

" Wal, Mas'r Jeemes, I was jess stan'in' on de sta'r 
step o' de po'ch a-lookin' an' a-lookin' down de road fo' 
ter see de sight o' de men an' bosses an' guns shu." 

Now Aunt Monin knew perfectly well that there 
were five white men and no more engaged in the raid, 
but she was not going to let on, not she. 

" Was there a big gang — fifty? " suggested Harte. 

" I dunno fo' shu, mas'r. It's dre'ful 'tickler work 
eountin' men when dey's ridin' roun' permisc'us, an' 
cavortin' ebbery which way. Dey go like streak light- 
nin' an' clap roun' like thunder. I'se powerful cute in 
reck'nin' chickuns an' mos' nebber misses nary one, but 
men an' bosses an' guns is long sight more skeery work 
to reckon. I hain't nebber seed hunderd men so close, 
pressin' slap up 'gin de bars, in my life befo', an' I was 
sorter skeered an' blinded by de flashin' o' de rifles. I 
dunno jess how many dey was, mas'r." 

" Where in blazes did they raise a hundred men out 
of that dried up country I should like to know? " mut- 
tered Harte with a puzzled frown. 

He left Nancy a few minutes later and rode off to 
join his neighbours, who under the command of the 
county marshal were turning out with wrath to pursue 
the Jay-Hawkers. The news of the raid had spread like 
wildfire, and some twenty men were already assembled. 
Now, although Harte did not in the least imagine that 
a hundred men could have been at Overton's farm, still 



THE BANKS OF JORDAN 41 

he felt sure there must have been a great number en- 
gaged in the raid for such a powerful impression to have 
been produced upon Aunt Monin's mind as was evident- 
ly the case. Harte was no match for Aunt Monin, and 
indeed a free man seldom is a match in cunning for a 
slave. Cunning is the slave's only weapon of either 
offence or defence, and they had had several genera- 
tions in which to cultivate it to perfection at the time 
when Aunt Monin lived. 

The young man soon overtook his companions 
splashing along through the muddy roads. 

" Git any news o' thim ab'lish'nists ? " asked one of 
the men with an oath. 

" Not much. Only there's been a heap of them 
over yonder." 

This information seemed to excite the fury of the 
party, who broke out into a variety of oaths and threats. 

" The cowardly blue-bellied Yankees! Jess let me 
git at 'em! " one would say; " I reckon I'd raise the top 
off his head with this hyar tool pretty 'tarnel spry, so I 
would! " 

" Them Free-soilers better not open their mouths 
nigh me," another would reply. " Eeckon I'd light a 
bullet down his throat mighty peart, so I would. I'm a 
mighty keurious customer, I am, when my dander is riz, 
by thunder! " 

And so on and so forth, with threat after threat 
expressed in more or less extravagant language. Be- 
guiling the time in this way, the twenty men rode in 
pursuit of the Jay-Hawkers. It is sometimes said that 
brave men don't brag. It is not considered good form 
among certain classes, but it would be a vast mistake, 
however, to infer that because these men boasted and 
bragged of what they would do they were necessarily 
cowards. On the contrary, they were both courageous 
and remorseless. They were prepared to risk their own 



42 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

lives in order to punish the raiders, but assuredly if 
they caught one, no matter even if wounded or un- 
armed, they would kill him without the slightest hesi- 
tation. Border wars are always waged in a ruthless 
fashion. 

And the Jay-Hawkers? What of them? 

We left the negroes spending their first night of 
freedom in rain and regret. At the earliest gleam of 
daylight Mills and his son rode on to the creek to in- 
spect the ford. The elder man knew pretty certainly 
what must have happened, but he wished to see with 
his own eyes. Under ordinary conditions Mine Creek 
is a river of quite fordable dimensions. During the 
recent drought, indeed, it had ceased being a river at 
all, and was merely a succession of pools and dry ridges, 
like the track of an avalanche. But Kansas soil is firm 
in character, so that when it rains after a long spell of 
dry weather the water runs away about as fast as if it 
fell upon a cement floor. That is what happened now. 
Every stream and rivulet which owed allegiance to 
Mine Creek rushed into it with an accumulated debt of 
waters that filled that hard-pressed river to the utmost. 
It rose with appalling rapidity, and whereas on the pre- 
ceding day it had been a dry rocky valley, when Mills 
and his son inspected it Mine Creek was a raging tor- 
rent, ten feet deep, sweeping trees and stones down in 
the wild swirl of its muddy waters. 

The two men stood for some time gazing at the roar- 
ing torrent, then they retraced their steps to where the 
miserable camp was. The elder man said never a word, 
and after a length of time Tom Mills put his thoughts 
into articulate language. 

" Eeckon we hain't got nothin' 'cept a rifle bullet as 
'ud cross Mine Creek now." 

" Eeckon rifle bullets'll be slingin' round mighty 
spry afore night," replied his parent. 



THE BANKS OF JORDAN 43 

" 'Low thim Missouri men'll turn out to-day? " in- 
quired Tom with some trepidation of manner. 

" They'll be 'long afore sundown," answered his 
father. 

" Wliat are you goin' to do, dad? " 

" Fight," was the laconic answer. 

When Mills reported the state of the river there 
was consternation among the Jay-Hawkers. Heaton 
wanted to try higher up for a ford. The taciturn leader 
made no observation in reply to this proposal, but only 
shook his head. So Heaton set out to try higher up, 
and after an exhausting struggle returned to say that 
he could not possibly make his way without an axe to 
cut through the tangled undergrowth of grapevines and 
small bushes. Then Mills informed him there were 
steep banks for ten miles on either side, and that this 
was the only place for crossing. Mills was occupied in 
carefully peering at the ground and scrutinizing the 
bushes that grew alongside the track. He seemed to 
look with such anxiety that at last Heaton asked him if 
he had lost anything. 

" No, hain't lost nothin'; am try in' to find some- 
thing," replied he, somewhat to Heaton's bewilderment. 

" What? " 

" Tracks." 

"Tracks of what?" asked Heaton, who found the 

information conveyed by his leader in altogether too 

concentrated a form to be readily assimilated. Mills 

•looked at the young man in some pity at requiring an 

explanation of what was so extremely obvious. 

" Tracks o' the rest o' the men, to see if they've got 
^long 'fore us. If they're behind an' comin' this way, 
we'll fix the Missourians yet, for we're 'bout as good as 
any twenty men anywhere round here, and we've got 
twenty reg'lar downright pretty rifles. If they ain't 
behind us, reckon the Missourians'll fix us mos' likely." 
4 



44 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Heaton felt his spirits rise at the thought of an un- 
equal fight, where the inequality would be against him. 
He would then be able to shake off the recollection of 
that awful scene of yesterday where the fight had been 
no fight at all, but only one quick shot with all the 
advantages on his side. He endeavoured to look for 
tracks too, but the search was fruitless. The storin 
had swept them away, even supposing there had been 
any. 

" Guess we'll kinder say we're a-lookin' out for 'em, 
anyhow," observed Mills. " It'll help keep the women 
and children from screechin'. We'll git 'long down to 
the river so we can't be surrounded, an' we'll put the 
wagon in the middle an' do what men an' rifles can to 
defen' ourselves." 

When the negroes, now somewhat revived by the 
sunshine, beheld the swollen flood of Mine Creek they 
were struck with the eternal fitness of things, and at 
once set up a spontaneous chorus of Glory, halleluiah! 
We's come to de Eibber Jordan. We's stan'in' on de 
banks lookin' out into de promise' Ian'." 

The enthusiastic chanting of this song engaged 
their attention for a long time, so that they did not 
much heed what the white men were doing, but 
whooped and sang and danced around in the splashy 
mud, completely happy at being in sight of the " prom- 
ise' Ian'." The white men, on the other hand, were 
very little inclined to sing and whoop, but proceeded 
with their work in grave silence. They pulled the 
wagon to the side of the road and endeavoured to hide 
it by means of branches and saplings piled up against 
it. There were plenty of torn and broken trees lying 
around after the storm, so that a very skilful ambuscade 
was soon constructed. 

By and bye Mills told them the rest of the Jay- 
Hawkers would soon be along now, and he intimated 



THE BANKS OF JORDAN 45 

with some asperity that they had had enough of whoop- 
ing and howling, and were to be quiet. The negroes, 
accustomed to unquestioning obedience when under the 
eye of the master, cowered down in and around the 
wagon. A feed of corn and cold corn bread was dealt 
out to horse and man. It was the last they had. 

" I 'low we'd better look to our pistols and rifles, an' 
git our caps ready. There ain't much more time for 
foolin', 'cordin' to my calkilation o' things. We can 
look out now," said Mills to his companions. Heaton 
could not but be struck by the extraordinary silence 
with which they seemed to receive the situation. There 
was no arguing, no giving of opinions and supporting 
them with wordy eagerness. Each man seemed satis- 
fied with the decisions of the leader — at all events, they 
accepted them and obeyed them with almost military 
silence. The young Eastern man was the only one to 
talk and make comments. 

" We can begin to look out now," repeated Mills 
softly, as if to himself. 

" For the Jay-Hawkers," said Heaton with a poor at- 
tempt at mirth. 

" For the Jay-Hawkers, if the Lord is good to us, but 
I don't count on that much when it comes to fighting," 
replied Mills, without any conscious irreverence. His 
mind was too intent on the hard facts of the situation 
for him to pay much attention to the niceties of lan- 
guage. 

" Any good getting those negroes to lend a hand at 
the fighting? " inquired Heaton, looking with longing 
eyes upon the stalwart frame of Cssar. 

" Ptcha! No. Niggers can't fight," said Mills with 
contempt. " Slaves never do. Fightin' is work for free 
men." 

" I don't know that. They have fought sometimes, 
and gallantly too, in ancient times," replied Heaton, 



4G THE JAY-HAWKERS 

drawing from his reading of past ages and not from his 
knowledge of existing negroes. 

" Don't know nothin' 'bout past times, an' don't 
want to/' said Mills with huge contempt; " but I do 
know 'bout niggers, an' they don't fight. If you let on 
to them darkies as we're calc'latin' to have a fight witli 
the Missouri men, they'll set up such a screechin' as 'ull 
bring the whole swarm o' them down slap on us. If 
we can jess manage to hang on an' keep them pesky 
Missourians back till to-morrow mornin', I calc'late we 
can swim that stream by the time the sun's three hours 
high. My horse there is the peartest swimmer in Linn 
County, an' he'll do it seven times with two on his back 
every time. Guess the others'll do it four times, and 
the colts once each, an' that'll take the whole parcel o' 
them across; babies an' childern don't make no great 
differ when it comes to swimmin'." 

Mills chewed meditatively at a stick of thunder- 
wood, looking the while sharply from beneath his 
shaggy eyebrows along the road that led out of the 
wood. All was as quiet and peaceful as if no such con- 
vulsions as storms were possible. The trees were mo- 
tionless, for the wind had died completely away. Flecks 
of sunlight glinted between the branches and fell slant- 
ing into the muddy pools. The negroes were peering 
uneasily from among the boughs that hid the wagon. 
Caesar stood in front of the barricade and seemed in 
doubt what to do. Near him was that active young 
darky who had declared he was " nebber gwine ter wo'k 
no mo'," a boast which Mills had remembered against 
him, and in consequence of which he had kept that mis- 
taken youth incessantly employed in every conceivable 
job, until he heartily regretted his uncomfortable state 
of freedom. 

" Those niggers has begun to smell out something," 
remarked Mills. " Here you, Jake," this to the darky 



THE BANKS OF JORDAN 47 

already mentioned; " jess you light out an' git up to the 
high prairie, an' climb a tree at the edge of the woods, 
an' see if you can see anything comin' 'long the road 
from Boomsville. If you make out a gang of 'bout fif- 
teen men comin' 'long, you jess pike back as hard as 
you can lick, so as we can be gitting sorter ready foi 
'em," concluded Mills with a grim smile. 

Jake swung off at a coon's trot and was speedily lost 
to sight among the trees. Mills and his four com- 
panions then carefully selected the place from which 
they were to defend the little camp, each man deciding 
precisely where he would fire from, so as to be ready to 
spring into position the moment it should become 
necessary. Their simple plan was to form a wide semi- 
circle in front of the wagon and to fire from behind the 
trees. Mill's only hope was that if they could so con- 
ceal themselves as to be absolutely unseen, it was just 
possible, if startled by a sudden attack, that the Mis- 
sourians might back out of what would appear to them 
as an ambuscade. It was but a poor chance, yet it was 
his only one, for it had now become evident that the 
rest of the Jay-Hawkers were either on before them out 
of reach of harm or help, or else that they were them- 
selves hiding somewhere along the river. Mills had 
only himself to depend upon to get him out of the hob- 
ble in which he found himself. 

Meanwhile the afternoon was wearing on, and Jake 
did not return. 

Mills approached Cassar where he was leaning 
against a tree with his great arms folded across his huge 
chest. Susannah just behind the screen of branches 
was crooning her baby to sleep. 

" Think that boy Jake 'ud go to sleep in a tree when 
he was set to watch for men? " he asked. 

" Dat ar Jake, him pison lazy nigga," replied Caesar 
with scorn. " I go see dey comin', mas'r." 



48 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Off he darted through the woods like a wild boar, 
crashing along with fierce energy. He soon reached 
the edge of the timber, and there, not a mile away, com- 
ing on at an easy trot over the brow of the hill, was a 
band of horsemen sure enough. One startled cry es- 
caped from Csesar's big lips as his practised eye told him 
these were not Kansas Jay-Hawkers returning from a 
raid, but Missouri farmers out in pursuit of themselves. 
Back through the woods he dashed, his eyes starting 
from their sockets, his wide nostrils distended with 
panting gasps. 

" Mas'r, mas'r! " he cried, bounding up to Mills; 
" dey ain't de Free-soilers; dey's Missouri slave catch- 
ers out on de hunt." 

" I know it, my poor fellow; those are the men I've 
been lookin' for. Git 'long into the bush an' hide," 
said Mills, looking at his twitching face with com- 
passion. 

" No, mas'r, I ain't gwine ter run. Hain't yer got a 
bowie knife ter gi' me? I can do a heap with a bowie 
knife." 

" Not much against rifles, but here is one for you. 
The Lord have mercy on you. It's a bad lookout." 

" I'll kill one white man 'fore I die," said Caesar, as 
he twirled his knife savagely over his head. 

The tramp of horses was now heard in the distance. 

Each man silently took up his position in the ap- 
pointed place. 

The tramp grew louder, and the faithless Jake shiv- 
ered in terror as he hid in his tree. He also had recog- 
nised the enemy and, too frightened to do aught but 
seek to save himself, had crept up higher into the tree, 
and lay there, scarcely breathing, while twenty men rode 
down into the woods of Mine Creek, where five Jay- 
Hawkers and one negro with a knife were waiting to 
receive them. 



CHAPTEE VI 

BACK INTO SLAVEEY 

" Theee's nigger tracks! " exclaimed Harte, who 
was riding in the front rank beside the county marshal. 
He pointed to the splashy mud alongside the road, 
where a hundred footmarks showed the spot in which 
the negroes had been paddling about during the earlier 
part of the day. 

" Them dog-gauned Free-soilers, I guees they're 
skulkin' roun' hyar in the brushwood," said the mar- 
shal, calling a halt. 

Five pairs of Free-soil eyes, whether " dog-gauned " 
01 not I can not say, were at that moment staring 
straight at the perplexed marshal, and five rifles were 
levelled at him and his men, onl}'- waiting for the word 
of command to empty their contents in their unsuspect- 
ing bodies. 

" I 'low them blamed Jay-Hawkers hain't passed 
'long this road many hours back," observed one of the 
men, bending well do^vm over his horse's neck and star- 
ing into the road. " The mud hain't settled in these 
hyar tracks." 

The marshal and five men rode cautiously forward. 

" They might be anywheres roun' hyar; the creek is 
too high for fordin'. Hyar, you fellers, jess beat the 
bush an' drive the 'tarnel varmints out inter the open 
whar we can shoot 'em down handy." 

When the marshal gave that order he did not know 

49 



50 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

that he was broadside on to Mills's rifle, not forty yards 
away, but he soon found it out. 

"Fire!" came in a loud voice, and instantly tlie 
woods rang with the sound of firearms. 

" Damnation! " said the marshal, as his arm 
dropped by his side with a bullet through the elbow 
joint. His horse had kicked at a botfly just as Mills 
had pulled the trigger, which had in all probability 
saved the rider's life. One man pitched heavily out of 
his saddle and lay still in the mud; another was thrown 
by his wildly rearing horse, maddened by a bullet 
wound in the nostril. They turned and galloped back 
to the rest of the party behind. 

" The brush is alive with Jay-Hawkers; we'd better 
turn back and wait for the regulars from Fort Leaven- 
worth," said the marshal, losing his blood and his nerve 
at the same moment. 

" There warn't more nor ten men fired or I'll bust," 
said a young fellow who had kept his wits about him. 

The Missourians evinced a tendency to deliberate. 
They were doubtful about the numbers they might have 
against them, though not at all doubtful of their own 
courage when pitted against an equal force. 

" Whose for wiping out the murdering, thieving 
scoundrels?" cried Harte. "Remember Overton. 
Not one of you'll be safe from Jay-Hawkers if we don't 
make an end of these now, so that they'll never dare to 
show their Yankee noses over the border again. Who'll 
follow me ? " 

A leader was all that they wanted, and a hoarse 
shout of approval greeted the young man's words. 

" You darned fools, be you goin' to run slap into a 
trap? " said one of the older and more cautious men. 

" Spread out an' take 'em in the rear," said Harte. 
" This way, boys! " 

He struck into the bush where the undergrowth was 



BACK INTO SLAVERY 51 

thinnest, and was followed by four or five others, while 
an equal number dived into the woods on the opposite 
side of the road. This manreuvre did not escape the 
penetration of Mills, who hurriedly came out of conceal- 
ment and said to his handful of men: 

" It's all up with us if they close in. Our only 
chance is to keep outside of them. Spread as much as 
you can, an' do what you can. We can't stan' agin 'em; 
they're fifty strong." Mills, like leaders of larger 
forces, exaggerated the strength of the enemy opposed 
to him. In pursuance of these orders the Jay-Hawkers 
scrambled through the woods as fast as they could, so 
as to keep on the outside of their adversaries. A few 
scattered shots were fired in the brushwood, by whom it 
was impossible to say. The main body of the Missouri- 
ans now rode down the track, and when they reached 
the spot where the first attack had been made and where 
their companion lay dead in the road they fired right 
and left into the woods. A scream came from the 
wagon, where hitherto the negroes had stayed quiet, too 
frightened to do anything. 

" Oh, Lordy, Lordy, don't shoot, mas'r! We's on'y 
po' nigga women an' chillun." 

" Don't kill the niggers," called out one of the men 
somewhat unnecessarily, since slaveholders don't kill 
negroes unless absolutely driven to it. They are too 
valuable property. 

At this moment C?esar, who had been watching his 
opportunity from behind a tree, sprang at a man riding 
a big black horse. He meant to strike the rider, but 
only succeeded in stabbing the horse in the chest. The 
animal reared and then fell forward on its knees, of 
course throwing the man to the ground, where he lay 
half stunned. Quick as lightning Caesar raised his 
heavy bowie knife and buried it up to the hilt in the 
man's back just between the shoulders. The deed was 



52 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

seen by half a dozen of the fallen man's companions, 
and half a dozen rifles were aimed at the negro and 
emptied in a second. But here again the haste of the 
aim saved Cffisar, Not one of the bullets brought him 
down, although one laid his cheek open with a ghastly 
wound, and another hit him in the fleshy part of the 
shoulder. The sting of the wounds seemed only to lill 
him with a fury that was not human. He leaped back 
under cover and hid behind the trees in the thicket, 
crawling along on his stomach to where Heaton lay in 
ambush. 

" We must clear out of this at once," said the latter 
to him hurriedly. " We can't do anj^thing against such 
odds. The others are gone already. I said I'd stay 
and warn you. Creep along under cover of the river 
bank — the water is falling — until you come up with 
Mills. He's gone that way. Good luck! Keep low, 
don't let the slave catchers get a sight of you or it's 
all up." 

" De Jay-Hawkers gone, mas'r! " said the negro, as 
he saw Heaton slip under the bushes and creep away. 
" Den we's gwine ter be slaves again. Dish nigga 
won't nebber be slave no mo'," he added in a sudden 
fury. He was only ten steps from the wagon where his 
wife and boy were, and the slave catchers were almost 
upon them now. There were bullets pinging through 
the woods here and there, but the quick crack of 
Sharpe's carbine was no longer heard, showing that the 
Jay-Hawkers had abandoned the fight and were retreat- 
ing. The Missourians were shooting here and there in 
an aimless way at the foe they had never once seen since 
the beginning. They mostly hit the trees and fright- 
ened each other's horses. 

The women and children came out in a shivering 
little group, huddled together in full view in the road, 
and implored the mercy of their conquerors. Among 



BACK INTO SLAVERY 53 

them stood Susannah with her sleeping baby in her 
arms. A great wave of mad despair surged through 
poor Caesar's savage mind as he saw them there — his 
wife and his child, the only beings he loved in this 
world, and they were going back to slavery. It came 
upon him in one awful moment what slavery was. A 
slave was only a beast to be bought and sold, to be 
tracked and hunted down, a brute beast with no heart 
allowed to beat with the emotions of love and affection — 
nothing but a beast of burden for evermore. And this 
was to be the fate of his boy — that bright little boy who 
had awakened his father's pride and had nestled at his 
father's heart. He would never be allowed to love the 
child nor even to see him grow up, but as soon as the 
little creature was able to work he would be sold off 
to wear away his life in some cotton swamp. These 
thoughts rushed confusedly through Cassar's mind as 
he stood for a moment trying to think. He was fixing 
his own destiny and that of his boy in that brief mo- 
ment. The horror of it mounted to his heart. Yes, he 
could save his boy, and he would save him by the only 
means left in the slave's power. 

Caesar was not a religious negro, far from it. His 
was a rebellious, impatient spirit. He refused to be- 
lieve in Susannah's Grod, for he was the God of the 
white man he would say, the God who turned a deaf 
ear to the wailings of the slave. The meek-spirited 
wife used often to shudder at his wild ravings against 
the Lord. 

" Dish nigga ain't gwine ter b'lieve in de Lo'd till 
he set de niggas free," Caesar said more than once in 
answer to her pleadings. When the Jay-Hawkers began 
to run off slaves out of Missouri in order to set them free 
in Kansas Caesar came to believe it might be the hand 
of the Lord that was uplifted' for them at last. 

But in that grim hour when the Jay-Hawkers crept 



54 THE JAY-nAWKERS 

away under the bank of Mine Creek and left the slaves 
to the mercy of their captors Caesar's wild heart broke 
within him. The Lord was not going to save them — 
that was clear to his comprehension. All was lost. 
Still there was the boy. That little innocent creature, 
perhaps the Lord would look after the little child and 
have mercy upon it if it were given into his hands. 
Some confused imagery remained in his mind about 
crossing the Kiver Jordan and going into some land of 
promise toward which the negroes were eagerly striv- 
ing, and about which they sang their rude songs. If 
the little helpless child were sent alone into the 
promised land, surely the God in whom Susannah be- 
lieved and to whom she prayed would receive it and 
cherish it. 

He sprang to where the negroes stood crying for 
mercy. He was a horrid object. A great wound in his 
jaw covered his face with blood, and a piece of flesh, 
like an awful blister, hung red against his black neck. 
Streams of blood came from his shoulder, but his 
mighty strength was not yet spent. AVith a howl like 
a wild beast he dashed up to his wife, seized the sleeping 
child from her arms and rushed to the river brink. 
Taking the infant by one little round leg, he swung it 
over his head and sent it with a mighty sweep far out 
into the stream. It plunged head foremost into the 
yellow flood and disappeared. 

It had never even awakened into consciousness out 
of its sleep, so swift was the rush that had jerked it 
from its mother's bosom into eternity. Susannah, with 
an awful cry, fell face forward and lay without moving 
in the muddy road. Cassar, like a wounded boar, turned 
and charged down the road straight at his pursuers. 
His huge frame was beginning to stagger now, but he 
rushed with his bowie knife in his hand raised ready to 
strike. He reached the foremost rider and flung up his 



BACK INTO SLAVERY 55 

knife just as two rifle bullets passed through and 
through his body. The knife sped straight enough, but 
the hand that hurled it was quivering in its last pulses. 
The bowie knife stuck in the thick homespun coat be- 
neath the leather belt, but only grazed the skin of the 
harshest slave owner in all Missouri. 

Cffisar fell shot through the heart, and the horses 
trampled his quivering body into the yellow mud. 

He had killed one white man and saved his boy from 
slavery. His wild and savage heart lay still enough 
now, and would never plan murders and burnings and 
fierce revenges for the wrongs of his race as it had so 
often done in the untamed days of his youth. He was 
only a savage with a savage's courage and also a savage's 
ferocity, but under other circumstances he might have 
been a hero and made a famous name. As it was, he 
was only a rebellious slave who was killed in a fight, 
and whose body was trampled to pieces by the horses' 
feet. 

The Missourians surrounded the little group of ter- 
rified slaves and with the butt ends of their guns struck 
them indiscriminately about the head and shoulders. 
Pitiful cries and screams for mercy were raised, but in 
truth very few of the slaves received any serious dam- 
age. They were adepts at howling, and also adepts at 
dodging. Had there been any full-grown men among 
them these would have fared ill, for the Missourians 
were so infuriated by the death of their comrade at the 
hands of Caesar that they would have been apt to avenge 
his death upon the first able-bodied negro they came 
across. As it was, the men had all escaped — Jake in a 
tree, Caesar by death, and the two others by crawling off 
into the brushwood. 

Uncle Deedy was still there — poor old Uncle Deedy, 
who was roused up into a state of unwonted animation 
by all the noise and confusion, so that he began to sing 



56 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

in a cracked old voice a hymn of his own making, to the 
effect that he too, " was gwine down de Eibber Jordan 
inter de promise' Ian', whar he seen de angels a-wash- 
in' o' der white-robe' gowns." 

" Shut up, you dodderin' ole fool! " cried one of tlie 
men, menacing him with his rifle butt. Uncle Deedy, 
absolutely unconscious of all that was going on, only 
sang the louder, whereupon the man gave him a knock 
on the head. The blow would scarcely have been felt 
by a hardy nigger lad, but Uncle Deedy was ninety 
years old, and it killed him on the spot. 

" Just as well to be rid of him; he only ate up the 
corn bread and did no good," remarked the man, with 
philosophy. " Here, pitch him into the river; them 
young colts is powerful skeered o' dead niggers." 

The old man's body was therefore pitched into the 
river. Thus the youngest and the oldest of that for- 
lorn party of slaves crossed the Eiver Jordan and en- 
tered into their promised land. 

Late that night a miserable herd of negroes was 
driven into the yard at Overton's farm, and Nancy was 
bidden out to receive back her property. 

" We hain't got 'em all. We had to shoot that big 
nigger o' yourn, Cgesar, 'cause he fought like the devil 
an' killed ole man Smith with a bowie knife. Three 
others run clean off, an' one ole one an' a baby was 
drowned in the creek. Sorry we hain't cotched 'era 
all." The speaker was the owner of the next farm to 
Nancy's home. 

" Did you kill him? " asked the young girl, with 
hurried emphasis on the pronoun. 

"Who? CjBsar?" 

" No. My father's murderer — did you kill him? " 

" Wal, we can't rightly say," replied the same 
speaker as before, but with considerable hesitation of 
manner. " We done a heap o' shootin'^ an' I 'low some- 



BACK INTO SLAVERY 57 

body mus' ha' been hit, 'cause we hearn an almighty 
screech. We jess come up to them at the crossin' o' 
Mine Creek, an' it's pretty close timber thar, an' kinder 
difficult to git the drop on a man." 

"How many Jay-Hawkers were there?" asked 
Nancy. 

" We didn't get a good sight o' them, so we can't say 
for certain, but the woods was Just full o' them — we 
could tell by the shootin'," replied a voice from among 
the horsemen which Nancy recognised as that of 
James Harte. 

" Dere was jess five men, mas'r," said one of the re- 
captured negroes. " We seed 'em all day long. Dey 
was five men, an' one warn't on'y de size of a small b'y." 

Nancy gave a quick scornful laugh. 

" You are valiant men — especially you, James Harte. 
Your vengeance is indeed likely to make the prairie 
ring. To say that twenty Missouri men couldn't catch 
five Kansas Jay-Hawkers! You ought to be proud 
men to-night." 

With another quick scornful laugh she turned on 
the heel and entered the house. 



CHAPTER VII 

THE BKAND OF CAIN 

Heaton returned to his lonely cabin beyond Keo- 
kuk, a sadder man after the abortive Jay-Hawker raid, 
but not necessarily a wiser one. Sadness and wisdom 
are not interchangeable terms. The first does not al- 
ways involve the second, for experience may be fruitful 
in sorrow without supplying the sufferer with any more 
infallible guide for future conduct than he had before. 
The shot which he had fired with such fatal aim in that 
farmhouse down in Missouri had dealt a death wound 
to some of his most cherished opinions. Brought up in 
an atmosphere of almost militant abolitionism, Heaton 
had come to Kansas full of enthusiasm and determined 
to do what he could to right the great wrong of slavery. 
He felt it to be the nation's curse, which it was his 
sacred duty to lessen as far as in him lay. 

Charlie Heaton was just twenty-four, and his gener- 
ous blood had been stirred by the accounts of John 
Brown's exploits in Kansas — exploits that had become 
all the more noble in the minds of most men since John 
Brown had set the seal of martyrdom on his opinions. 
No bold-spirited man having abolitionist views could 
help having his admiration aroused, nor prevent his 
heart beating in quick response to the story of John 
Brown's life and death. It was just the very impulse 
to start a young fellow like Charlie Heaton on a course 
of similar dangerous philanthropy. The war in Kansas 
58 



THE BRAND OF CAIN 59 

was a tempting scene for such an actor to make liis 
debut. Not that he went to Kansas with a definite idea 
of taking part in that irreguhir and savage struggle. 
On the contrary, being a man of refined feeling, he de- 
termined in his own mind to keep clear of fighting. 
But he also determined to lend a hand in any work for 
the freeing of the slaves. That was a noble object, and, 
as far as one man could, he would devote his energy, 
ay, his life, to accomplishing the task. 

With his mind set in this way, Charlie arrived in 
Kansas in the May of 1860, and in the following Octo- 
ber, as we have seen, he joined his first Jay-Hawking 
raid. Five months on the prairie had modified the 
opinions he had brought with him from the East. He 
was just as enthusiastic as ever to make Kansas a free 
State and to keep the curse of slavery from her borders, 
but he was more lenient toward the fighting Free-soilers 
than he had been when merely reading about their 
many questionable exploits in the safe seclusion of his 
home in Vermont. Still he resolved to keep clear of 
fighting, as far as he was concerned. This may seem 
a strange resolution on the part of a man who was 
ready to join the Jay-Hawkers, but he had much to 
learn. 

When starting on the raid he had undoubtedly con- 
templated the possibility of a conflict with the slave 
owners, and had armed himself with due care for such 
a contingency. The conflict of his imagination, how- 
ever, had always been in the open, with the odds against 
his side. It had never once taken on the hideous form 
of accomplished facts, wherein he was the stealthy at- 
tacker, and where a half -sleeping old man was shot in 
his own house. Charlie was young, he was a dreamer, 
he was ambitious. He saw around him a great evil 
against which his heart revolted. He dreamed that he 
might help to overcome that evil. He saw himself act- 
5 



60 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

ing a not ignoble part in the great drama, and his mind 
received the meed of its own praise. 

For my part I am sorry for these young dreamers. 
To them the world is a great stage with all the freshness 
of their young ambitions concealing its bedraggled 
scenery. They see themselves taking a leading part, 
they fancy themselves commanding the applause of a 
nation and shaping the world's history, and then sud- 
denly they find themselves knocked aside, they know 
not how, by some unexpected coup de theatre. The 
bedraggled scenery stands revealed in all its cob- 
webs and dust to their disillusioned eyes, and they dis- 
cover that they were never in a leading part at all, but 
that quite other actors are at work the whole time aim- 
ing after quite another denouement. Poor young 
dreamers! 

Of course the Jay-Hawkers did not blame Heaton 
for his act when once they understood it was a case of 
" shooting first "; but acquittal by his neighbours was 
not enough for him. Charlie wanted acquittal by his 
own conscience. He prized above all else the approval 
of his best self. He did not shrink from mentally argu- 
ing out the subject. He lived quite alone, so he had 
plenty of time in which to thrash out the question very 
fully, and the more he thrashed it the harder it became 
for him to prove satisfactorily to himself how his shoot- 
ing of the Missourian differed from mere murder. 

The old man was dozing in his chair when he, 
Charlie Heaton, fully armed, came suddenly upon him 
and demanded that he should give up his slaves, who 
were no doubt his most valuable property — property 
moreover, that was recognised by all the laws of the 
country. True, Heaton did not approve of slavery, 
held it in abhorrence indeed, but there were other kinds 
of wealth beside slaves amassed by means of which he 
also disapproved in a high degree. He set up a law 



THE BRAND OF CAIN 61 

unto himself, and because the man had refused to sur- 
render his property and had evinced a determination to 
defend it Heaton had killed him. How was this to be 
distinguished from robbery with violence, followed by 
murder? After this terrible summing up, the unhappy 
young man lived over again in imagination that awful 
moment when he had seen the gun barrel rising and 
had pulled his own trigger, and the man had fallen back- 
ward on the floor. 

He used to speculate by the hour as to what had 
been the fate of the girl whose wail of agony would 
wake him at times out of the soundest sleep. Had he 
deprived her of her only support in the world? He 
had heard the men say there were only the two at the 
farm. Certainly he saw no one else. But then he 
never saw even that grief-stricken girl, although she 
must have been near enough; he only heard her voice. 
And was she now left desolate, and by his hand? 

Perhaps that wailing cry which haunted him so was 
in reality the source and origin of much of his mental 
arguments. His dreams of following, however dis- 
tantly, in the footsteps of John Brown, and of freeing 
slaves by the score were rudely dispelled by that cry 
of despair. To bring off a load of slaves into freedom 
and to see them caper with joy and shout and clap their 
hands at being under a free sky where no man might 
call them his was an inspiriting performance. But this 
was not what he had done. There were no slaves lib- 
erated. On the contrary, those whom they had brought 
a little way along the rough road to freedom were back 
again in slavery and in a much worse plight than before, 
and Heaton, instead of inspiring recollections, had only 
that grief-stricken cry of a fatherless girl to bring back 
with him to his solitary cabin near Keokuk. He had 
not brought a single slave into freedom; he had carried 
desolation to a happy home. 



62 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

This, then, was the sorry end reached by an enthu- 
siast determined to do his level best to undo a great 
national wrong. It had one immediate result, however, 
and that was to fix him in a resolution never again to 
join in a Jay-Hawkers' raid. To do evil that good may 
come was one of those insidious doctrines of the Romish 
Church against which his Puritan blood instinctively 
rebelled. He had committed a murder that good might 
result. No good had resulted, but only evil, and the 
brand of Cain was on his brow. If the evil of slavery 
was to be done away with, it could only be by a great 
national uprising, and not by isolated acts of vengeance. 
One ride with the Jay-Hawkers had been enough to 
cure him of the notion that their rough and spasmodic 
efforts were going to do any permanent good. 

Meanwhile the young man felt a longing that was 
rapidly becoming overmastering, to go back into Mis- 
souri and see what had become of that girl. He fancied 
that if he could only hear her speak, and could look into 
her face, he might get rid of that wailing cry that so 
constantly pursued and tormented him both sleeping 
and waking. He had read in tales of ancient times that 
when persons were haunted by visions they could best 
dispel the vision by seeing the actuality of their fancy. 
This idea, which had at first merely touched his fancy, 
began erelong to grow into a serious project, so that by 
Christmas he had firmly resolved to put it into execu- 
tion. It was a mad scheme, considering the disturbed 
state of the country, and one that could only arise in a 
mind that had brooded too long in loneliness over a 
subject that caused deep emotion. For Heaton was 
emotional in that quiet, self-contained way which can 
only be the long piled-up inheritance of puritanically 
repressed natures. He imagined for himself a whole 
series of pictures of what had been and what was the 
life history of that girl whom he had never seen, but 



THE BRAND OF CAIN 63 

whose voice he had heard, and around that fanciful 
image, quite unconsciously to him, began to cluster 
those little formless impulses which are the first mys- 
terious guides on the road to love. It must be remem- 
bered he was a young man, and he lived alone, his mind 
dwelling continually on an image of his own creation. 
The image became part of his daily life and thought; 
he began to know it, to pity it, and to love it for the 
very pity which he gave it. 

And this man who was on the point of setting out on 
a search for an utterly unknown girl by the sound of her 
voice, this man who was going to run into very palpa- 
ble danger of losing his life in order to silence a sound 
that existed only in his imagination, was Charlie 
Heaton, the Vermont Puritan, who had been brought 
up amid the hardest and most unemotional surround- 
ings, in that arid region of self-satisfied religious ego- 
tism and repression, where romance is shunned as the 
lure of the evil one, and love admitted as an ill that 
must be borne for the purposes of social continuity! 
Nature is strong, however, and has frequently proved too 
powerful for the bonds of hard asceticism. The un- 
used poetry of the young man's soul, which had been 
lying by and accumulating during his whole life, now 
rushed forth and took this romantic, this almost quix- 
otic form. 

Now, although the projected trip and the motive 
for it might both be considered devoid of common 
sense, Heaton's Vermont nature came to the rescue in 
assisting him to work out the practical details of the 
scheme. Wliy he went was known but imperfectly even 
to himself, but the manner of his going was sensible 
enough. He had let his beard grow after the raid, so 
that by the middle of January he had very effectually 
concealed a handsome mouth and a pair of well-cut lips. 
He did not wish to run the risk of being recognised by 



64 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

any chance Missourian who might have seen him in 
the preceding autumn. He might be quixotic and 
ready to devote his life if he could atone to the girl 
whose home he had destroyed, but this sentiment did 
not extend to the extreme of letting himself be shot if 
he could help it. So he set off with his gun on his 
shoulder and a chunk of cold corn bread and some dried 
beef in his pocket. He would go as a hunter in order 
to give a peaceful excuse for the gun, and as he was 
an exceptionally good walker the expedition presented 
no great difficulties until he reached the border. 

Starting due east from his little log cabin, he skirted 
the high prairie of Keokuk, and kept along the edge of 
the Big Sugar Creek woods. Occasionally he was over- 
taken and passed by other wayfarers moving in more 
speedy fashion on horseback; but as the day wore on 
he began to realize that he was alone on the prairie. 
Considering that it was the month of January, the 
weather might be said to be warm, but it would be cold 
enough sleeping on the frost-bound ground with no ex- 
tra covering, so he began to look out rather anxiously 
for any signs of human habitation. A cabin deserted 
by one of the settlers which the drought had driven out 
would do at a pinch, but he would prefer an inhabited 
cabin with the attendant possibilities of warmth and 
food. 

A thin spiral of blue smoke which he detected issu- 
ing from the woods that stretched beneath him in the 
bottom lands looked hopeful, and he made for it with 
all speed. Somewhat to his surprise he came upon an 
Indian lodge cosily nestling among the trees, a sight the 
more unexpected as he imagined the Indians were all 
gone oat of the country. 

A shrill scream, with a deeper toned " Ho, ho, ho! " 
proclaimed that he was discovered. Since he came as 
one asking a favour, Heaton thought he had better pro- 



THE BRAND OF CAIN 65 

claim his peaceful character in terms not likely to be 
misunderstood. He therefore reversed his rille, and, 
carrying it butt end uppermost, walked straight up to 
the entrance of the wigwam. 

A savage face streaked with red and yellow and two 
glaring eyes met his view, as also the end of a flint- 
pointed arrow. The young man nevertheless walked 
steadily forward, noting the while that the arrow did 
not seem very aggressively aimed. A tall, lanky savage 
with nothing on but a bead belt and some red paint 
stepped out of the lodge, and Heaton immediately of- 
fered him his hand to shake. The savage seized his 
hand with a hoarse " Wo, hough sough kee," of wel- ■ 
come, and immediately three other persons came out of 
the wigwam. These likewise shook hands, with various 
grunts expressive of various degrees of satisfaction at 
the unexpected pleasure of his visit. Heaton put his 
rifle against the centre pole of the lodge, and sat down 
with the family upon the ground. The chief savage, 
seeing there was no occasion for personal prowess in 
overcoming an enemy, resumed his blanket, which the 
keen air made him draw closely around his shoulders. 
His wife, who was dressed in a blue skirt, handed him 
his best leather gaiters embroidered with porcupine 
quills, and then laced them up for him. After this she 
spread over both men a warm buffalo robe, and reached 
them down the calumet of peace, which the Indian and 
Heaton smoked in turn and in complete silence. 

There was a flat-faced child in leather drawers and 
tiny blanket waddling about the lodge, and he at once 
made friends with the visitor. He climbed up his knees 
and pulled open his necktie, being seemingly much di- 
verted by the incomprehensible way in which that arti- 
cle of man's adornment elongated itself whenever he 
pulled one end. The child looked in vain on Heaton's 
fingers for those rings which adorned his father's hands 



66 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

by the dozen. He was consoled, however, for his disap- 
pointment on this score by the discovery of a pocket 
magnifier, and gazed earnestly at tlie strange sight of 
his own dirty finger tips when magnified fifteen di- 
ameters. 

The squaw roasted several ears of corn in the hot 
wood ashes, between two flat stones, and Heaton offered 
some strips of his dried beef to his hosts. Together 
they made a silent but sustaining meal, and after supper 
he retired to the sheltered side of the tent and slept 
soundly in a bed of pulled prairie grass covered by an 
Indian buffalo robe. Indians are supposed to be treach- 
erous devils, but Heaton, although his gun would have 
been a valuable prize and his throat easy to cut as he 
slept, never experienced a shadow of uneasiness as he 
lay under the shelter of the red man's tent. In the 
morning he took leave of his hosts after an interchange 
of mutually unintelligible compliments and a more in- 
telligible gift of tobacco on his part. The little boy ran 
after him and clung round his legs, mutely imploring 
another look at the magnifier; and the mother ran after 
the boy, no doubt saying, in Indian language, " You 
naughty child, you mustn't climb up the gentleman's 
legs and muddy his clothes," as is the practice of moth- 
ers the world over. 

Some time after leaving the Indians Heaton over- 
took a man driving an ox wagon, which is the slowest 
mode of progression known to civilization. He was 
walking alongside his team gee-hawing in true Western 
style when the pedestrian came up with his long swing- 
ing gait. The opportunity of beguiling a tedious hour 
was too good to be lost, so the man hailed him with 
eagerness. 

" Say, stranger, be yer gwine ter cross the creek, 
anyliow? Guess the water's pretty tole'ble high." 

" I've got to ford it somewhere," answered Heaton. 



THE BRAND OF CAIN 67 

" Meet ary track o' Injuns? " asked the man. 

" Yes; there are some back there," replied the 
young man, jerking his thumb over his shoulder. 

" Land! " exclaimed the man in evident alarm. 
" Be they headin' this way? " 

Heaton smiled with some contempt, and then said: 
" One of them did indeed run after me as I was coming 
away." 

" Hope you killed him, stranger," said the man ear- 
nestly. 

"Good Lord, no!" said Heaton aghast. "It was 
only a little child, who wanted to play with my necktie." 

His companion, somewhat ashamed, felt it incum- 
bent upon him to explain. 

" I ain't nary lick afeard o' Injuns," he remarked 
complacently, " on'y I'd ruther keep tracks a little ways 
off a set o' salvagerous onairthly coons. Eeckon ary 
one o' thim comin' this yer way, stranger? " 

" No. They were in their tent, and I didn't see any 
signs of marching. I stayed there last night, had sup- 
per with them, and slept under one of their buffalo 
robes. They were as kind as could be." 

"Land sakes, stranger! I'd liefer sleep a night 
'longside o' ten rattlesnakes nor one Injun," said the 
man in astonishment at such unheard of temerity. 

" Indeed," remarked Heaton contemptuously. 

" Calkerlate they'll be some o' them Kickapoos goin' 
up to their reservation. Was there thund'rin' sight o' 
guns 'mong 'em? Injuns is powerful wicked when they 
has guns." 

" They only had bows and arrows as far as I could 
see." 

" Eeckon I could lick ary heap o' Injuns with bows 
an' arrows if I hed as good a rifle as yourn," said the 
man, desirous of regaining the ground he felt he might 
have lost in Heaton's good opinion by his too mani- 



68 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

fest exhibition of alarm. He, on the other hand, only 
anxious to be rid of a disagreeable companion, did 
not pursue the subject. 

"Do you know the country round here? Perhaps 
you can direct me." 

" There ain't nary man this side o' Fort Leaven- 
worth kin tell you more names o' cities nor I kin, 
stranger. You may lay on that ar," replied he with 
boastful emphasis. 

" I am going east toward the border to hunt deer," 
remarked Heaton. 

" Thar's more cities 'tv/een hyar an' the Missouri 
border nor you could find in ary 'nother airthly spot in 
creation," he said exultingly. 

" I didn't know there were so many settlers here. 
I thought the drought had cleared them out," observed 
Heaton in some surprise. 

" I didn't say thar was settlers," answered the man 
with a grin; " but thar's a powerful sight o' cities. 
There's Oak City, an' London, an' Athens plumb ahead 
o' yer on the track to the border." 

" And how many settlers might there be in Lon- 
don ? " asked Heaton. 

" Nary one, an' never was one." 

" Then how shall I know which is London and 
which is Athens when I get there, if there are no set- 
tlers to tell me ? " asked Heaton in some amusement. 

" Wal, I 'low London City 'ull be easy 'nough, 
stranger. You'll git thar 'bout noon, an' the trees is 
pretty nigh all blazed 'roun' whar the city is." 

" Is Athens equally well laid out and marked? " 

" I reckon Athens hain't got so far 'long yit, an' it 
won't be so handy fer yer ter know it. You'll git thar 
'bout three hours 'fore sundown. The trees ain't 
blazed, 'cause thar ain't none roun' thar; but you'll see 
whar two stakes has been druv inter the groun'. May- 



THE BRAND OF CAIN 69 

be they ain't stan'in' now. But that's Athens City. I 
am the founder of that city, stranger, an' whar them 
stakes is druv in is goin' ter be the centre of the city — 
jess whar the store, an' the post-office, an' the meet- 
in'house, an' the newspaper office is goin' ter be 
'rected." 

Heaton thanked the founder of Athens for his in- 
formation and directions and left him just as his oxen, 
who had espied a deep mudhole on in front of them in 
the road, had begun to bellow over the tug and the 
strain and whip lashings that they knew were imme- 
diately in store for them. Oxen are maddening crea- 
tures to drive. They are like slaves, skilled in all the 
tricks and devices known to the cunning mind in order 
to escape work. They will lie for hours perfectly mo- 
tionless in the long grass, not even shaking an ear to 
remove the flies, and this because their master is hunt- 
ing for them, and they know that head shakes tinkle ox 
bells, which would at once reveal their presence. They 
move away when the yoke is raised for their necks, and 
when at last they are ready to start it is almost a mira- 
cle for anything so big to go so slowly. But there 
is something almost human in their howling with an- 
guish in anticipation when they see a mudhole ahead, 
out of which they know they must painfully tug their 
load. 

The end of the second day's march brought Heaton 
well over the border into Missouri. He began to go 
cautiously, because he perceived that he was an object 
of suspicion to all whom he met. He was in the ene- 
my's country, and every man would look upon him as a 
foe. Therefore he gave a wide berth to everything like 
a settlement if he possibly could. This, however, was 
not always an easy thing to do, and once he found him- 
self walking right into a small village in full view of 
some negroes working in a field, and this before he was 



70 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

aware that there were any houses near. It was a 
wretched place, with only two or three squalid log 
cabins in the whole settlement, but these were not unin- 
habited, as Heaton soon found out. He considered that 
his safest course was to proceed boldly forward as if he 
belonged to the place. This he set out to do, but he 
found that it required all his nerve to walk steadily and 
sedately forward when he became aware that two men 
were looking at him from behind a half-open door, and 
that one of the men had a gun in his hand which he was 
raising to his shoulder. 

Cold chills ran down his back as the young man real- 
ized his position. Nothing on earth could save him if 
the men chose to fire. His only possible chance was to 
appear completely at his ease. He therefore began to 
count his steps softly to himself in order to make sure 
he was not unconsciously hurrying in the slightest de- 
gree. 

One. Two. Three. Four. He wondered would 
he get into the twenties before the shot came. Per- 
haps he would be shot at eleven or twelve. He counted 
steadily on. He was increasing the range at every step 
now, and adding to his chances of not being hit. He 
would have given worlds to look back in order to see 
if they were aiming at him. But he dared not show 
even this sign of uneasiness. 

Twenty. Twenty-one. He was getting into a long 
range now. He swayed his body gently, but irregularly, 
from side to side, as much as he dared, in order to make 
himself a moving target, if target he was. 

Forty. Forty-one. He must be pretty near out of 
range. His heart stopped thumping, and a cold sweat 
came out on his forehead. 

Those were just the most trying steps he ever re- 
membered to have taken in all his life. He walked on 
steadily until a turn in the road hid the houses from 



THE BRAND OF CAIN Yl 

sight. Then he went and sat down behind a tree to 
recover his breath. That slow walk through the vil- 
lage with those two men and their gun pointing at his 
back had winded him more than the hardest race he 
Qver ran. 



CHAPTER VIII 

AUNT MONIN'S story 

Aftee the failure of her neighbours either to kill or 
capture her father's murderer Nancy seemed to wrap 
herself up in a sombre mantle of her own sad thoughts. 
Alone at the farm, except for the companionship of 
Aunt Monin, she had abundance of time for brooding 
over her desolation. The old negress offered consola- 
tion in her own peculiar fashion, but it was not of a 
kind to be acceptable to Nancy as yet. She was a hot- 
tempered girl and a loving one. Her father, the only 
relative she had in the world, had been cruelly torn 
from her by a violent death. The very strength of her 
love made her long for vengeance. She was so lone- 
ly, so desolate, so unhappy, that it seemed to her she 
would not feel such an aching void in her heart if she 
could have her mind gratified by a signal vengeance. 
This is a feeling often seen in crude or unformed minds, 
and Nancy's mind was still very young. But hers was a 
strong nature, and even when driven by circumstances 
into a false direction was not one to show any faltering 
of purpose. She passionately desired vengeance, and 
could she have met the man who had killed her father 
she was quite capable of acting herself as the avenger of 
blood. 

Her nature was almost masculine in its fierceness. 
She had as yet none of the softness of the girl in mind, 
although her physical form was both soft and feminine 



AUNT MONIN'S STORY 73 

in a marked degree. Her soul was unawakened, and 
her young life had been east in rugged lines. Her fa- 
ther had been a stern man, though a just one according 
to his lights, and all her experience lay with hardness. 
Aunt Monin alone supplied her with the soft loving ele- 
ments, without which no young creature can thrive, 
while the young men who would fall in love with her 
were regarded by her with indifference. She had no 
petty vanity to be gratified by their devotion, for she 
lived very much isolated, and vanity is a growth largely 
dependent upon the surroundings of a girl, and is not 
derived from her own inner consciousness. At this 
stage of her existence Nancy might be rather looked 
upon as a wild boy, free in fancy and in soul, acknowl- 
edging no superior, and not familiar enough with the 
world and the experience of others to know that one 
day she would inevitably fall under the spell of the 
tyrannous master who in the end subdues all creatures. 
She was just at this repellent stage, feeling no need 
of love other than that amid which she had grown up, 
when she was overwhelmed by the catastrophe of her 
father's death. Love, crushed out by that blow, rose 
up again in bitter hatred toward the slayer of the one 
person who was most dear to her. 

Aunt Monin preached in vain. 

" Leave de vengeance to de Lo'd, Miss Nancy,-" she 
would say in reply to her child's oft expressed desire to 
be revenged on the man who had killed her father. " I 
will repay, say de Lo'd. Dat mean de Lo'd he run down 
de Jay-Hawkers when de right time come. Leave it all 
in de ban's o' de Lo'd." 

" But I want it to come now in my lifetime," Nancy 
would say fiercely. 

" No, bressed chile, yo' mus' leave it in his ban's. 
He choose his o^\ti time for runnin' 'em down. De ways 
o' de Lo'd is solemn an' slow, dat dey is." 



74 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" I want it done now. It is only by the hands of 
men it can be done. Oh, if I were only a man! " 

She clapped her hands angrily together, bewailing 
her woman's powerlessness. 

" Yo' white folks, yo' is mighty unpatient. Yo' 
dunno how to wait f o' de Lo'd," remarked Aunt Monin, 
shaking her turbaned head reprovingly. " Yo' ain't 
larned ter be patient like we niggas. We's bin waitin' 
fo' de Lo'd all dese y'ars, Miss Nancy, an' he hain't 
come to us yet. But we's trustin' in him all de while. 
He come by an' bye fo' shu'." 

Nancy had heard such expressions as these from 
the lips of her old nurse all her life long, and had paid 
very little heed to them, it must be confessed. It was 
Aunt Monin's way to be always preaching, and Nancy, 
having grown up with the preaching, accepted it heed- 
lessly, like the rain and the sunshine, as among those 
things which were continually happening. Now, how- 
ever, her attention was made keener by reason of her 
own suffering, and her point of view also was changed. 
Slaves had been among the accepted facts of her life, 
although from a purely intellectual standpoint she was 
very much inclined to disapprove of slavery, since it 
was going to lead to trouble and unhappiness among the 
whites, as was too bitterly proved by those dreadful Jay- 
Hawk raids. From the slave's point of view Nancy 
had never considered the matter at all. Her father's 
slaves were comfortable, they were well cared for, and 
she dearly loved Aunt Monin. Surely everybody was 
as happy as she; Nancy desired them to be. This had 
been her heedless philosophy hitherto. Now, however, 
her eyes were made to see more clearly by reason of the 
sharpening of vision which her own sorrow had brought 
about. 

Aunt Monin's preaching suddenly struck home, be- 
cause Nancy's mind was in a mood to hear it. She 



AUNT MONIN'S STORY 75 

looked long and seriously at her old nurse, as the mean- 
ing of her words sank slowly into her mind. Then 
there was something that the old slave longed for be- 
yond the physical comforts with which she had always 
been surrounded. Yet Aunt Monin was a petted negro, 
if ever there was one, not too hard worked, with plenty 
of all she needed for her simple comforts. Nancy felt 
a sudden desire to look into her mind to see what were 
its real thoughts and hopes. She realized all in a mo- 
ment that she did not know this woman on whose knee 
she had gro^vn up, so to speak, and about whose feelings 
and thoughts she had hitherto been so carelessly confi- 
dent. This awakening to the fact that one in whose 
daily life we ourselves share is living a life apart from 
us and of which we have no knowledge, not infrequently 
creates a feeling of surprise mingled with resent- 
ment. This was somewhat the case with Nancy, and 
her next words took on a form indicative of the 
feeling. 

" Aren't you happy. Aunt Monin? You are kindly 
treated, you have all you want, you are fed and clothed 
and never have to think for the morrow. Surely you 
ought to be completely happy." 

" Ya, Miss Nancy, don't yo' know 'tain't havin' belly 
full o' corn makes pusson happy? Niggas ain't like 
work oxen; dey wants suthin' mo' nor dat." 

" And I love you. Aunt Monin,'^ said Nancy softly, 
as if to herself. 

"Ah, my honey-chile," repeated the old woman, with 
quick response to this show of affection on Nancy's part, 
" yo' is de light o' my eyes. Yo' is mo' ter me dan de 
whole worl' beside. Aunt Monin love yo' wid all her 
ole heart. De Lo'd he done make our hearts all de 
same way, Miss Nancy. Dey ain't black an' dey ain't 
white; dey all de same colour in de sight o' de Lo'd." 

The old woman fondled her foster child, taking one 
6 



76 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

of her hands between her own two and patting it, while 
she made cooing noises like a brooding dove. 

" I shouldn't ever want you to go away from me, 
Aunt Monin," began Nancy. 

" I ain't agwine, honey-chile. Befo' de Lo'd I ain't 
nebber g^vine ter leave yo'," interrupted Aunt Monin 
with passionate earnestness. 

"Not even to be free?" asked Nancy, touched by 
her affection, but still pursuing her own train of ideas. 

" No, not even ter be free. I wouldn't go an' be 
free an' leave my honey-chile. Nebber." 

Nancy knew negroes too well not to be able to dis- 
count their statements liberally, but a sudden thought 
struck her as Aunt Monin uttered her solemn protesta- 
tion. 

" How is it you didn't go away with the others? 
Didn't you know they thought they were going off into 
freedom? " 

" Yes, Miss Nancy, I hearn tell all 'bout dat. On'y 
I couldn't go 'long too. Dey was startin' for de Ian' o' 
Canaan, an' was a-singin' Glory, halleluiah! but my eyes 
couldn't foller 'em. Dey was turn' back to whar yo' 
was sittin' in 'fliction an' de han' o' de Lo'd was heavy 
'pon yo'. Der warn't no freedom fo' ole Aunt Monin 
so 'long her honey-chile was 'bidin' in de Ian' o' sorrow 
an' trib'lation. If I had sot out on dat journey inter 
de wil'erness I couldn't have gone furder nor de clear- 
in', 'cause my heart was stayin' behin' wid my chile." 

It was impossible to doubt the sincerity of words 
spoken with such deep earnestness of manner, and 
Nancy looked at the old woman with a softened glance 
in her dark eyes. They were together in the small sit- 
ting room, not the big room where Overton had been 
shot, but in another one also opening off the veranda. 
Nancy habitually used this room now, for she could not 
bear the sight of that other one with its terrible memo- 



AUNT MONIN'S STORY Y7 

ries. Feeling very lonely, she used to keep Aunt j\Ionin 
with her all the time now, and she used to talk to her in 
a fitful sort of way, just as the ideas came into her head. 
It was during one of these disconnected talks that she 
suddenly asked the old woman one day how many chil- 
dren she had had. 

" Eeal children of your own, Aunt Monin? " said 
Nancy, idly poking her needle in and out of her work 
without sewing at all. 

" Seventeen, Miss Nancy. But dey warn't real chil- 
lun to me. Dey warn't so real as yo' mammy, dat was 
my fust, an' yo', dat was my las'. De black chillun 
warn't so real to me as de white," said Aunt Monin, 
looking with strange far-away glance out of the window, 
as if she was gazing at some one who was fading from 
her sight. 

" Why weren't they real? " asked Nancy, amused at 
the answer, and not in the least understanding what 
Aunt Monin meant. 

" 'Cause dey all sole 'way South 'fore dey growed up. 
I didn't nebber see nary one o' them a'ter dey ole 'nough 
to peck roun' by se'f." 

" Oh ! " said Nancy in painful surprise, regretting 
that she had asked the question. " Then I suppose you 
were glad of me because I stayed; was that it, Aunt 
Monin? " 

" De Lo'd give yo' ter me for ter save my soul from 
de sin o' dreadful wickedness. Yo' dunno what awful 
sin yo' save me from when yo' jess ten days ole an' 
no mo'," said Aunt Monin, with a voice hushed in awe 
and reverence. 

Nancy was very much astonished and looked at her 
in silence for a moment or two. 

" Tell me about it," she said at length. 

" Better not, honey," answered the old woman, to 
Nancy's surprise. 



78 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" You must/' said Nancy quickly, too unaccustomed 
to have a slave say No to bear it with equanimity, and 
Aunt Monin was too much accustomed to being a slave 
to refuse further. 

" Yo' was jess bo'n, chile, an' I had my own little 
babby gal on'y month ole, when Mas'r John, yo' daddy, 
he done sell one o' his nigga women South 'long wid her 
chile to de dealer for to work on de plantation. She 
was call' Mander, an' she was a po' schreechin' critter, 
dre'ful cut up, when she hearn she was agwine ter leave 
her ole man an' her chillun. She cry an' she fret all de 
day long, so her babby get de cramp from de milk, what 
all turn p'ison, 'cause she fret so. An' de babby turn 
yaller, den green, an' die slap off. Den Mas'r John he 
come a-swearin' roun' an' tearin' ebery which way, 'cause 
he done promise to 'liver nigga woman an' chile to de 
dealer, an' he hain't got no chile to 'liver. Den de slave 
dealer he come 'long too, an' he swear roun' ebery 
which way, 'cause he hain't got no chile ter go 'long 
wid de woman. He tell Mas'r John he off wid de bar- 
gain' an' Mas'r John git mad, an' he come slap inter de 
kitchen an' take my little babby dat sleepin' in de crib 
an' he give it to Mander, an' she war carried off by de 
slave dealer 'fore I know dat my babby chile gone." 

" Poor Aunt Monin! " said Nancy, gently stroking 
the old face that was quivering imder the recollection of 
that tragedy of long ago, " And what did you do ? " 

" When I come back from de garden patch f etchin' 
de green corn fo' de white folks' dinna', I foun' de 
babby gone, an' de niggas tell me dat she gone South, 
sole right 'way from me. I was jess like de wolf in de 
wil'erness when de hunters done kill her cub. Dat 
babby war de las' o' seventeen, an' de missis she say I 
allers keep dat one fo' shu'. She war in bed an' didn't 
know nuffin 'bout de sellin'. I jess leapt inter de room 
whar she war lyin' with yo' by her side. She war drea'- 



AUNT MONIN'S STORY Y9 

ful white an' skeery-lookin', on'y jess her eyes burnin' 
like coals outer de fire. I fall down on de floor an' tell 
her, an' I say dat de curse o' de Lo'd will fall on dish 
hyar house for de sin o' de father. An' I gone clean 
mad fo' de grief o' losin' my little babby." 

"Aunt Monin was this the falling of the curse?" 
asked Nancy in an awe-struck whisper. 

" Dis was de hand o' de Lo'd, chile, dat fall heavy on 
yer father. I was on'y po' mad nigga woman talkin' 
outer de wickedness o' my heart. De Lo'd 'buke me fo' 
my great sin, but de Lo'd done take nudder way to 'buke 
from what I guess he gwine ter. Sinfu' man can't go 
for to un'erstan' de ways o' de Lo'd." 

" Tell me more. What did my poor mother say? 
She was sorry for you, wasn't she ? " said Nancy very 
softly. 

" So she was, chile. Her eyes dey got bigger an' 
bigger ebbry day, an' I 'lowed it was de tears she was 
cryin' dat made 'em so 'mazin' big an' shiny. She 
didn't git well. But I nebber took no notice, 'cause o' 
de blin'ness o' my sin an' rage. De rage kinder riz up 
in madness, an' I couldn't pray no mo'. I could on'y 
lie starin' wide-'wake an' thinkin' o' de big carvin' knife 
what I has for ter kill de chuckins wid in de kitchen. 
Dat carvin' knife I see befo' my eyes in blood red, allers. 
I used to take an' hide it under de wood pile an' try for- 
get whar I done put it. 'Twarn't no sort o' use. Jess 
as soon as I lie down 'side o' dat little empty crib I see 
de carvin' knife 'gain, an' de feelin' come inter my min' 
o' ban's tryin' ter push me ter git it an' draw it 'cross 
mas'r's throat. Dey was de ban's o' de debil dat was 
pushin' me, an' it was de father o' evil what was tempt- 
in' me to 'venge my babby by killin' ole mas'r what sold 
her South. 

" One night it was dre'ful col' an' snowy, an' I 
wrestled wid de debil, an' call on de Lo'd to save me an' 



80 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

keep me from murder. But de blood madness riz up 
an' blin' me. De voice o' de Lo'd die 'way. I on'3^ hear 
Satan temptin' me. I riz up an' was gwine for ter take 
dat carvin' knife when de do' opened an' a shinin' angel 
stan' on de do'step. I 'low it was de angel o' de Lo'd 
comin' to take me slap down inter hell for my sinfu' 
wicked thoughts. I drop down on my knees an' jess 
say, ' Lo'd, have mercy on de po' slave! ' I couldn't say 
no mo' nor nudder word, for all de breath gone clean 
outer my body. 

"Den I hear a silver-sweet voice say: ' Po' Aunt 
Monin, hyar is my babby chile, Nancy; I give her to yo' 
for yer own babby, 'stead o' de one I promise' yo' nebber 
to sell 'way from yo'. Take her, Aunt Monin, an' keep 
her always, an' love her jess like she Avas yer own little 
babby.' Den she lay de little white chile in my arms, 
an' it put its little mouth up an' suck at de po' nigga 
woman's breast. Den de madness go 'way from my 
eyes, an' I don't nebber see de carvin' knife no mo', on'y 
hear de silver-sweet voice o' de angel o' de Lo'd say in': 
' Take her, Aunt Monin, an' keep her an' love her, jess 
like yer own little babby." 

Aunt Monin's voice sunk into a deep whisper. 
Nancy was sobbing softly. 

" It was my poor mother came that night through 
the snow to comfort you." 

" Chile, it was de angel o' de Lo'd. It wasn't no 
mortal woman pass through de snow dat winter night. 
She was shinin' bright an' jess as white as de snow itse'f 
when she stan' in de do' o' de sinfu' slave woman what 
she come to save. Dese eyes o' mine seen de glory 0' 
de Lo'd on dat night, an' my ears has heard de voice o' 
de angel o' de Lo'd speakin' to me. She go straiglit up 
to heaven from de nigga woman's cabin. In de gray 
o' de mo'nin', 'fore de sun was up, dey foun' yo' po' 
mother dead, lyin' white an' still in her bed, an' de little 



AUNT MONIN'S STORY 81 

babby chile she done give ter me was warm an' cuddlin' 
close up to de po' slave woman's bosom. Dat was de 
way de Lo'd 'p'inted to 'venge my lost babby, Miss 
Nancy, an' nebber like de sinfu' wicked way I wanted 
ter 'venge it, by wicked murder dat 'ud sen' me inter 
ev'lastin' torment. 

" When dish ole nigga woman die now, she's gwine 
ter heaven ter meet 'gain de angel o' de Lo'd, an' she 
hear 'gain dat silver-sweet voice speakin' to her once 
mo'. An' it say, ' Well done. Aunt Monin, thou good 
an' faithfu' servant! ' I meet all my lost chillun an' 
live for evermo' an' rejoice in de Lo'd. De ways o' de 
Lo'd ain't de same as our po' sinfu' ways. Miss Nancy. 
Leave de vengeance ter him ter do it in his own good 
time." 

Aunt Monin's story sunk deep into Nancy's heart. 
She was affected at the time by the old woman's pa- 
thetic tale and the thought of all that she must have 
suffered. But it was not a mere stirring of the surface 
of her feelings, an effect to disappear in a day. In- 
stead of the dark, brooding desire for vengeance, there 
now came into her mind another thought, that of her 
poor young mother in the last hour of her life walking 
through the snow to comfort the sorrowing slave. 
Nancy did not regard this event from the scientific 
standpoint, as the case of a fever patient, who in her 
delirium slips away and hurries on her death during 
the careless sleep of the nurse supposed to be watching 
her. Some of Aunt Monin's religious and mystical fer- 
vour was imbibed by her foster child. The gift of the 
little white baby to replace the black one that had been 
so cruelly lost was an expiatory gift. And she, Nancy, 
was that child. She had been given by her dying moth- 
er to comfort a grief-stricken slave's heart. As she pon- 
dered over this, some of the spirit of that dead mother 
seemed to instil into her mind. She had never known 



82 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

anything about her. Her father, who had been tender- 
ly attached to his wife, couldn't bear to speak of her, 
and so Nancy had grown up without any mother inilu- 
ence at all. Her mother was not a memory, she was 
not even an imagined picture; she was nothing, she 
did not exist in her daughter's imagination at all. Now 
suddenly she appeared before Nancy's mental vision in 
this dramatic way — a shining angel of pity standing in 
the lowly negro cabin with her babe in her arms. How 
great must have been her love for the slaves, and how 
immense her desire to comfort and console, when she 
gave her only little free-born baby as a healing gift to 
the distracted slave mother! 

As Nancy's mind dwelt on this image of her un- 
known mother some of the influences which had prompt- 
ed the parent seemed now at work upon the daughter's 
mind. She had been given in expiation, she had been 
dedicated almost at birth to comfort the slave's heart. 
How had she fulfilled this high mission? Of course she 
loved Aunt Monin, because Aunt Monin was associated 
with all her childish memories of love and cuddling af- 
fection, but that was a mere every-day return for ordi- 
nary human love. Any other foster child who had a 
warm-hearted nature would have done the same. AVas 
not her mission something higher and greater than 
this? A whole train of new thoughts and vague as- 
pirations rushed into Nancy's mind by the door which 
Aunt Monin's story of her mother's last act had 
opened upon her. An army of generous emotions 
took possession of her and drove out that dark tribe 
of hate and vengeance which hitherto had entirely 
occupied her soul. The mother spirit, which had 
culminated in the offering up of her own child, now 
succeeded to the father spirit, which had hitherto 
dominated Nancy's mind and tended to make her a 
hard, uncompromising, and somewhat repellent young 



AUNT MONIN'S STORY 83 

woman. The softening, womanizing influence came 
over her soul, awakening new emotions, and resting 
with the divine touch upon her young nature. She 
would give herself to the work that had been begun by 
her mother's dying act. She would be the comfort of 
the slave. There was no cold debating of the rights 
and wrongs of the proposition; no weighing the disad- 
vantages against the advantages of slavery. Nancy was 
not a creature of brain and calculation; she was a warm- 
hearted passionate girl, into whose life there had never 
come any crisis until that awful one of her father's 
death, which went near to turning the sweetness of her 
nature into bitterness and gall. But she was saved 
from being a bitter, hating woman by her dead mother, 
and by the same act, too, which had saved poor old Aunt 
]\Ionin from the deadly sin of murder and bloody venge- 
ance. Xot by hate, but by love, is the world to be re- 
generated. The simple old negress out of the suffering 
of her life had learned this lesson, and was content to 
walk her road in earnest trustfulness. Slaves seldom 
feel the impulse to act. The most their life has taught 
them is to suffer uncomplainingly. A free person of 
generous emotions is not satisfied with this negative 
state, but tries to act in accordance with his best aspira- 
tions, and is not content to sit still with folded hands, 
if there is something he feels ought to be done. Nancy's 
nature was of this active creative kind. Her new en- 
thusiasm was not content to limit itself to seeing that 
her negroes had enough to eat and were properly housed. 
Her quick imegination leaped forward to something 
greater and nobler than that mere brutish ideal. 

They must be free. 

It was characteristic of her hot impulsive nature 
that, having once reached this determination, all 
Nancy's thoughts and all her energies should be turned 
toward accomplishing the practical execution of the 



84 THE JAY- HAWKERS 

scheme. It was not such an easy task as might be im- 
agined by those who have never lived amid slavery. It 
was not sufficient for her to say to her bondsmen: " Be 
free. Ye are mine. I bestow freedom upon you." 
That would be a mere mockery of liberty so long as slie 
let them remain in a slave State, where at any moment, 
by some whirligig of revised laws, they might be re- 
duced again to slavery. She must take them away and 
start them in life under a free sky and on a free soil. 

The new spirit working in Nancy did not remain 
without giving signs of itself and of the change that 
was going forward in her mind. About a month after 
her father's death there came the news that a Missouri 
raid had taken place in Kansas, in which some Free- 
soil men had been killed. Nancy felt none of the fierce 
satisfaction at this intelligence which would have been 
hers in the earlier and unregenerate days of her sorrow. 
She listened sadly to the account supplied by Mr. Oliver, 
a loquacious neighbour, who magnified the prowess of 
the Missourians. She made no comment. Then he 
told her how they had succeeded in recapturing some 
slaves who had been run off some months previously, 
and how these were brought back in triumph to their 
former masters. 

When Nancy heard this her heart overflowed with 
the pity born of its new impulses. 

" Oh, I am so sorry! " she said. " Poor creatures, 
how hard on them! And after they had been free for 
nearly a year! It was cruel." 

" Wal, Miss Nancy," exclaimed the man, amazed at 
such language from the lips of a slave owner, " yer own 
niggers was run off, an' you had oughter be glad when 
the black cusses is cotched." 

" I'm not glad. I'm sorry, very sorry, when any 
poor creature struggling for freedom is again cap- 
tured." 



AUNT MONIN"S STORY 85 

Her cheeks flushed and her eyes flashed. Mr. Oliver 
looked at her admiringly through his narrow gray-green 
eyes, although he disapproved in a high degree of her 
dangerous sentiments. 

" Wal, if them's yer 'pinions I guess yer'd better be 
makin' tracks for Kansas mighty peart. If yo' was a 
man, Miss Nancy, I 'low yo' wouldn't be let live long 
in this hyar country with them dog-gauned Free-soil 
idees." 

" I am going to proclaim my opinions aloud where I 
like and when I like," said Nancy, who was human 
enough to have her views on the subject made quite 
clear to her mind by a little opposition, " I hate slav- 
ery. I hate all connected with slavery, and I have good 
reason to do so. If it hadn't been for slavery my fa- 
ther would have been alive and well to-day, and I 
shouldn't be alone in the world." Converts are pro- 
verbially keen for their faith, and Nancy spoke with 
all the zeal of a young convert. 

" Wal, I swan! " exclaimed the man in dismay; " if 
yo' ain't gone an' turned ab'lishionist, right hyar in 
Missouri, too! Golly Ned! " 

" If I had my way every slave should be free to- 
morrow," said Nancy with passionate recklessness. 

" An' the country plumb ruined the next," said Mr. 
Oliver quickly. 

" It will be worse ruined by slavery than by any- 
thing else, even a famine; that's what I think," said 
Nancy. 

" Wal, I guess we'll kinder scoot 'long a while as we 
are," he replied with some contempt. " I'm powerful 
glad women hain't got no rights yet a while. Miss 
Nancy — ^by gosh, I am! " 

" You are afraid we might set the slaves free," said 
Nancy with a flash of her black eyes. 

The man turned to go and had ridden a few paces 



86 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

down the road when he came back again and drew 
up close to where Nancy still was standing. 

" Look hyar," he said with considerable sharpness 
of manner, " doan't you go now an' try an' come yer 
Yankee Free-soil bosh over the young men roun' hyar. 
They're jess plumb mad 'bout yer, an' would swaller any 
lies you handed 'em to eat. We men folks ain't a-goin' 
to have our boys primed up with Yankee lies. An' if 
you light out on that trail we'll 'scort yer out o' Missouri 
pretty all-fired quick, I can tell you." 

His blood was up and he was angry, but then her 
blood was up too, and she was also angry. Moreover, 
she was a Missouri girl, and not the meekest of her sex 
in the State, either. 

" I thank you for your threat, sir. Southern men 
often boast of their chivalry. I guess I'll remember 
this specimen of it. You threaten to hunt a girl out 
of the place where she was born just because of her 
opinions, and she an orphan with no one on earth to 
protect her! I guess I'll lay in a rifle for this winter, 
and I'll ask the first man I come across to teach me 
how to use it. Then I'll be ready for you Missouri 
gentlemen when you come along to hunt me out of 
house and home, just as if I was a wolf or a mad 
dog." 

Mr. Oliver's sallow cheek took on a muddy sort of a 
blush as he slunk back from Nancy's biting words. 

" You gals' tongues is 'bout as full o' p'ison as a 
copperhead, I reckon." He fairly turned tail and 
galloped off before Nancy could say anything more, so 
afraid was he of her stinging taunts. 

Aunt Monin was standing within the shadow of the 
doorway, her black face shining with enjoyment. 

" Lordy, Miss Nancy, it done me good on de inside 
for ter hear yo' talk to him. Guess he won't come roun' 
this er way for ter drive yo' out o' dish hyar house. Dar 



AUNT MONIN'S STORY 87 

ain't nary man in de whole county as aren't afeerd o' de 
tongue o' de pretty gal wid eyes as black as pear pips an' 
cheeks as red as roses. Dey run from de snap o' yo' 
eyes sooner dey would from de crack o' de Jay-Hawker's 
rifle." 



CHAPTEE IX 

AUNT MONIN's freedom 

Nancy had determined to free her negroes, and she 
set about it with characteristic energy and promptitude. 
Her encounter with her neighbour Mr. Oliver only 
served to hurry on her decision. It was the very next 
morning, when she and Aunt Monin were together in 
the little sitting room, that she unfolded her determina- 
tion to the latter. Aunt Monin was working at a patch- 
work quilt of gorgeous colours, while she sat near the 
fireplace, where a couple of logs of mighty bulk were 
smouldering away in the lavish fashion known only on 
a timber farm that wanted clearing. The pale Novem- 
ber sun crept disconsolately through the window pane 
and lay in ineffectual yellow patches upon the white 
boarded floor. It gave little heat, but indicated a 
friendly intention, so that the dog went and lay in the 
patch, preferring what he considered sun warmth de- 
rived from the outside to the baking heat of the glowing 
embers on the hearth. The cat preferred the fire heat, 
being of a feminine nature, pleased with warmth and 
not particularly addicted to the delights of outdoor life. 

Nancy was there too, with some work on her lap, but 
she was not plying her needle. She was thinking, and 
occasionally she turned her glance from the fire to the 
wrinkled old face of the negress placidly intent on her 
work. Apart from the eyes, which are extremely full 
of life and expression, a negro's face does not indicate 
88 



AUNT MONIN'S FREEDOM 89 

the varying moods of the mind to the same extent as do 
the features of a white person. Their black faces be- 
come more akin to those of the lower animals, and one 
must see their eyes in order to read the face; just as one 
must see a dog's eyes in order to understand at all what 
is going forward in the canine mind. As Nancy looked 
at the old face she wondered whether the twin powers 
of suffering and of enjoyment were still alive in Aunt 
Monin — for they always reside together — or whether in 
the anguish of her younger days her finer feelings and 
capacities had been blunted and worn out. She seemed 
so content now, so peacefully happy, perhaps the day 
was passed when she could be stirred to great joy and 
delight in anything. 

So Nancy looked and pondered, and Aunt Monin 
stitched her red and yellow and blue bits of stuff to- 
gether to make her patchwork quilt. 

" Aunt Monin," said Nancy, going up to her and 
laying her hand on the shoulder upon which she had so 
often been carried when a baby, " what should you say 
if I gave you your freedom? " 

Aunt Monin dropped her work, took a deep breath, 
but did not speak for a moment or two. Then she said: 

" It would be de secon' time de Lo'd show me 'spe- 
cial marcy by yer ban'. Miss Nancy. Yo' bin de bless- 
in' o' my life from de fust day yo' born." 

Two great tears fell upon the patchwork quilt. 

" Then, Aunt Monin, you shall be free," said Nancy 
in a solemn voice, not without emotion. 

" Glory, halleluiah! " cried the old woman, jumping 
to her feet and clapping her hands excitedly together. 
" My eyes has seen de glory o' de comin' o' de Lo'd. 
I'se agwine ter be free! I'se agwine ter be free! Neb- 
ber be slave no mo'! Glory, halleluiah! " 

She capered ecstatically about the room, winding 
herself up in her reel of cotton the while, until the 



90 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

numerous threads began to entangle, and at length 
brought her to a standstill. Her great eyes were shin- 
ing with tears. Nancy's speculations were fully and 
promptly answered; the power of deriving enjoyment 
was not dead in Aunt Monin. Never was a human 
being more full of it than was that old woman wildly 
dancing around the room, shouting and singing, witli 
triumph and joy. When she stopped at last, wound 
up in her own thread, her young mistress went over to 
a small table under the window and wrote out what she 
flattered herself was a very legal document, beginning, 
" I, Nancy Overton, being sole owner of Aunt Monin, 
my slave, do hereby give and endow her with freedom." 
She signed and dated her paper and imagined she had 
done the thing in style. Of course, being unwitnessed, 
it was worth about as much as an old newspaper wrap- 
per, but this Nancy didn't know. 

" Here, Aunt Monin; take this. Now you are a 
free woman, as free as I am," said Nancy. 

Aunt IMonin took the paper upside down and looked 
inquiringly at it. 

" What dish hyar, Miss Nancy? " she asked. 

" Your charter of freedom. I've set you free. You 
can go where you like and do what you like now," said 
Nancy, looking at her with shining eyes. She felt ex- 
cited. It seemed a momentous crisis. She was begin- 
ning to pick up the task bequeathed to her by her 
mother, and to perform her part in the great work of 
her life. 

" I'se free nigga an' can do what I like? " said Aunt 
Monin, desirous of having a perfectly correct idea of her 
new position. 

" Yes. You are free. You can do what you like." 

" Den I stay 'long o' yo' allers," said the old woman 
with emphasis, at the same time tossing the paper into 
the fire with the remark, " I ain't gwine ter stuff dat ar 



AUNT MONIN'S FREEDOM 91 

paper inter my dress for ter get los' an' mixed up, so I 
can't fin' my thimble nohow." 

Nancy looked at her with a gasp of surprise. 

" I thought you wanted to be free," she said in a 
puzzled tone. 

" I does so, my bressed lamb. I'se got mighty long- 
in' ter be free, so I can alters stay 'long o' yo', chile." 

" But then it won't make any difference if you stay 
with me just as you were before," said Nancy, at a loss 
to understand the old woman's position. 

" No, honey-chile, der's heap o' differ'nce. Now I 
stay 'long o' yo' allers, 'cause I'se free nigga, an' I work 
for yo'; an' bimeby I min' yer little babbies for yo'. 
An' I live an' die happy ole woman, 'cause I'se free." 

" And what's the difference between that and being 
my slave ? " inquired Nancy with a smile. 

" Heap sight differ'nce. "V\^ien yo' marry, honey- 
chile, yer mas'r might want ter sell me South 'way from 
yo', an' yo' couldn't do nufRn for ter help me, jess as yo' 
po' mammy couldn't do nufiin for ter save my little 
babby girl. But now I'se free nigga, I stay 'long o' yo* 
allers, an' can't nebber be sole South." 

Nancy's eyes filled with tears when she fully under- 
stood the train of reasoning which was actuating her 
old nurse. 

" Are you quite sure you shall want to stay? " she 
said. " By and bye it may be different, and you will 
want to go away." 

" No, no; Aunt Monin nebber go. Lordy, chile, po' 
ole Aunt Monin 'ud be lonely in heaven without her 
honey-chile was dar too." 

She flung her arms around her foster child and 
kissed her passionately. Mother love could not be 
stronger than was the affection which bound Aunt 
^Monin to the white fosterling who had been given to her 
to replace her own lost child. 
7 



92 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Fully determined now upon her course of action, 
Nancy was sufficiently acquainted with the feeling of 
her neighbours to know that she must keep her plans to 
herself. If it once got abroad that she was going to set 
her negroes free, a storm would be raised that might 
very possibly result in driving her out of the country 
and them into deeper bondage down South. The great 
fever heat of the war was rising to the country's brain, 
and the patient was restless and turbulent. Nancy 
was already a suspected person, and she had to act with 
a degree of caution and secrecy very foreign to her na- 
ture and to her age. She did not dare talk over her proj- 
ect with any one, not even with Aunt Monin. If once 
the negress heard of what she intended, there was an 
end of secrecy. She must keep her own counsel until 
the last moment, and not let them know they were 
bound for Kansas until they were on the point of start- 
ing. Then she might dare tell them, for their own 
sense of personal implication in a dash for freedom 
would teach them to be quiet and not to jeopardize 
their chances by premature boasting. But until that 
moment arrived she must keep her plans to herself. 

Another reason why Nancy wished to leave the 
country was the fact that James Harte was still in it. 
Of all her admirers he was the most persistent and the 
one she found it hardest to deal with. He was a fierce- 
tempered, wild young fellow whom every one dreaded, 
and one whom she emphatically wished to keep at arm's 
length, and he was just the one who pushed himself into 
her life whether she would or no. He was brave to 
recklessness, with that courage which has given an evil 
reputation to the men who first peopled the new terri- 
tories. He was a law unto himself, and he enforced his 
law by his personal courage. Nancy was a courageous 
girl, but she sometimes felt fairly afraid of James Harte. 
She knew the day would come when he would ask her to 



AUNT MONIN'S FREEDOM 93 

be his wife. She knew also that she would refuse him, 
and her heart beat with apprehension to think what 
might follow then. He had not in so many words de- 
clared himself yet, but he had done so in deeds, and 
Nancy could not possibly remain blind to the motives 
which brought him so frequently to her lonely house. 
He had constituted himself her protector, as it were, and 
used to look in at all times of the day just to see if she 
was safe, he said. He was genuinely in love with her, 
and was also very uneasy about the defenceless position 
in which she now found herself. 

" Nancy, you hadn't ought to stay here alone. It 
isn't safe," he said one day, not for the first time by any 
means. 

" I don't think any harm will come to me," she re- 
plied, with an apparent confidence that was not alto- 
gether consistent with the state of her mind, and was 
certainly not justified by the state of the country. 

" Just fancy now, if another of those Jay-Hawk 
raids should come this way. You can never know when 
they'll come, nor where they'll strike." 

" I should free my slaves at once and welcome," said 
Nancy with some exultation. " The Jay-Hawkers 
wouldn't attack defenceless women." 

" Jay-Hawkers are no better than regular bush- 
whackers, and downright scoundrels too," said Harte 
in reply. " I shouldn't think you needed to be re- 
minded that they do sometimes attack defenceless peo- 
ple." 

" That was a wicked man," said Nancy in sudden 
agitation. For all her new enthusiasm in the slaves 
she had not advanced far enough to be able to forgive 
her father's murderer. " I'll never believe that he 
came only to free the slaves." 

"Would you know him again if you saw him?" 
asked Harte. 



94 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" Yes, I think I should. I feel sure that I would 
have some instinctive aversion toward him, and that 
something would tell me if he ever was to come near 
me," replied Nancy. " I hope I never shall meet him, 
for I don't like to think what I might be led to do." 

" Well, I should like to meet him," muttered the 
young man. " I shouldn't have any doubts as to what 
I should do. Now, as near as you can remember, what 
was he like? " 

" He was tall." 

"And dark?" 

" I think so, but I don't feel sure. There was not 
much light in the room, and I didn't look at him. It 
was all so fearfully quick, and afterward the room was 
full of smoke." 

" Had he any mustache? " 

" I feel sure not. I think I remember noticing his 
mouth when he first spoke," said Nancy, with manifest 
reluctance. It was a deeply painful subject to her, and 
one about which she never spoke unless absolutely com- 
pelled to do so. The feeling that perhaps, after all, it 
was the falling of the curse, and that her father's death 
was in some measure expiatory, made her all the more 
anxious never to bring the siibject before the minds of 
other people. 

" There was a coon out there in that dispute we had 
at the Osage Fork," continued Harte, " I guessed he 
was the man, and I sighted on him three times; but 
every time I got the drop on him some cuss came l)e- 
tween and spoiled my aim. I wasn't sure I ever hit him 
at all." 

" I am glad you did not," said Nancy in reply to 
this communication. 

" What! and he might be your father's murderer! " 
exclaimed Harte. 

" Then you see he might have been quite another 



AUNT MONIN'S FREEDOM 95 

man. I have a horror of this sort of killing going on — 
men avenging crimes on the wrong people, and it going 
on and on until we are in a regular war, with neighbours 
killing one another. Oh, it is a horrible thought! " 
said Nancy with a shudder. She could not speak to 
Harte or to any other person about that feeling in re- 
gard to her father's death which was growing upon her, 
and which was not so much the result of thought as of 
a morbid imagination. 

" Folks are talking a lot about war round here now," 
remarked her visitor. " They're saying 'tis got to come 
to that pretty soon now. The South ain't going to 
stand Lincoln's election as easy as some folks think." 

" Then it will be the vengeance of the Lord for the 
sin of slavery," said Nancy. 

" Bosh! " said Harte vigorously. 

" Aunt Monin often says the time is coming near 
when we shall see signs and wonders." 

" Land o' Goshen, Nancy, you ain't going to listen 
to the stuff an old nigger woman tells you! " exclaimed 
Harte, with sturdy masculine incredulity. " Niggers 
have been always hollering round and calling on the 
name of the Lord and so forth. It seems to comfort 
them in a way." 

" Sometimes the ignorant see what the wise are too 
blind to perceive," said Nancy in a low voice, following 
rather the train of her own ideas than the course of 
Harte's reasoning. 

"Look here, Nancy, I'll tell you just what it is: 
you are nervous, and low-spirited, and sad. No wonder, 
after all you've suffered, and living by yourself, too," 
said Harte in quick, uneasy sentences, while his voice 
would quiver in spite of all he could do. " Don't you 
think that it is time you had some one beside you in 
case of need? You know all along I've been loving 
you, Nancy, and that you've only got to raise your eye- 



96 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

lid and wink a Yes, and I'd have been down on my knees 
and grateful. You don't care for my love one bit; I 
can see that, you never did, but maybe you'd be glad 
some day to have a man to protect you. I guess I'm 
about the best shot in this county anyhow, and there 
ain't a man between here and Fort Leavenworth I'd 
be afraid to stand up against. Do you care about that, 
Nancy? " 

This was possibly an appropriate form in which to 
cast a declaration of love on the Missouri border, but 
Nancy could hardly repress a smile as she answered: 

" I know you are a brave man, James, and no wom- 
an could want a braver; but I'm not in a mind to 
marry." 

" But think what would become of you here! You 
absolutely can't live here, slap on the border almost, 
without a man to draw a trigger for you," urged the 
young man with vehemence. 

" Perhaps I shall go away." 

"What for?" exclaimed he in dismay, not at all 
relishing this way out of the dilemma. " You were 
born and reared here. Why should you wish to go 
away? " 

" Why not? Folks are always moving. I should 
like to go somewhere else, I think." 

" I couldn't bear to think of it. You mustn't, 
Nancy," said Harte anxiously. 

" Mr. Oliver said if I didn't change my opinions the 
men would come and turn me out of the country," said 
Nancy very unguardedly. 

"Damn them, let them try it!" exclaimed Harte, 
furiously; " I'll shoot every man jack of them, begin- 
ning with Oliver." 

Nancy sprang startled to lier feet. 

" How dare you make such a threat! " she asked in- 
dignantly. "It is this wicked, wicked taking of life 



AUNT MONIN'S FREEDOM 97 

that is going to bring a curse down upon our land. You 
tliink it is nothing to kill a man! " 

" There ain't nothing else for it, oftentimes," an- 
swered Harte, with unaffected Western philosophy. 

" I don't think it is ever the thing to do," replied 
Nancy, with an earnestness derived from her personal 
experience rather than from any careful course of rea- 
soning. 

" I'll do whatever you say, if only you'll marry me," 
said the young man, with the promissory lavishness ha- 
bitual with one suffering from the passion of love. 
" You can make me what you will. If you'll marry me, 
I'll settle down and work a farm, and won't sight a gun 
on anything with two legs excepting buzzards. If you 
won't, I'll turn bushwhacker, by thunder, and raid Kan- 
sas as long as I can level a rifle." 

" Is this a threat, Mr. Harte ? " asked Nancy stiffly. 

" You girls would drive a man clean crazy with your 
tormenting ways. Then, when he don't know what he 
is saying, you turn on him like that," said Harte, trying 
to bring his furious temper under control. 

" I don't think I ever acted unkindly to you," said 
Nancy, not without some show of feeling. 

" No, you never did. You were always the nicest 
girl I ever saw or heard of, but can't you understand? 
I want you to marry me," he ended, lamely enough, but 
with a good deal of pathos nevertheless. 

"No, James, I can't," she said as gently as she 
could, and yet with unmistakable firmness. 

" Won't you change? Girls often do," said he, look- 
ing at her longingly. 

" No, I sha'n't change. That is my answer. Try 
and forget it all, and you will meet some other woman 
that you will love better," she added, with the usual 
futile attempt at consolation which women offer under 
these circumstances. Fortunately she did not volun- 



98 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

teer to be a sister to him. Harte's wild temper broke 
out at what he could not fail to see was a final answer. 

" Then I don't care what I do. I'll go straight to 
the devil, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing 
it is all through your doing/' said he savagely. 

" Then you would have gone all the same, no matter 
what had been my answer," replied Nancy, her melting 
mood quite dispelled by his wild words, and her temper 
rising too. 

" You could have made a good man of me if you had 
tried; now you'll see what you've done," said he as he 
left the room. He flung himself upon his horse and 
rode furiously away, leaving the young girl half fright- 
ened and wholly angry. A man had no right, she 
argued to herself, to try and terrify a woman into marry- 
ing him. Any man who could do such a thing would be 
quite certain to show his violent temper to her as soon 
as she was his wife. 

Harte, of course, came no more to the farm to see if 
Nancy were safe, and nobody else took his place of vol- 
unteer protector, for he had, as it were, driven off all 
her other suitors by the persistence of his wooing. It 
was very generally known that he was a man that would 
brook no interference from anybody — an attitude of 
mind which, when backed by the newest rifle and the 
steadiest hand in the county, was apt to create a feeling 
of deference in the minds of onlookers. The com- 
plete isolation in which Nancy now found herself only 
increased her anxiety to be gone out of the country. 
She was completely out of harmony with everything 
around her, and she did not feel that her position was 
one that could long be retained with safety. According- 
ly, she sold her farm to her nearest neighbour, who was 
none other than the Mr. Oliver Avho had been the first 
to threaten her with the wrath of the surrounding slave- 
holders. He felt some slight qualms of conscience at 



AUNT MONIN'S FREEDOM 99 

having, as it were, frightened her out of the country and 
then at reaping the benefits of her going; but this did 
not prevent him from bu3'ing her farm at considerably 
less than its real value and urging her to accept the offer, 
because nobody was likely to bid anything for it, so he 
told her. Nancy closed the bargain with him and be- 
lieved what he said until two other men offered her bet- 
ter terms, when, however, it was too late for her to ac- 
cept them. 

There was a dreary auction at the old house the 
second week of the New Year, when all the neighbours 
came and ransacked the place, and the auctioneer 
cracked jokes, as it is his class privilege to do, offering 
old pots with holes in them to anxious housewives, and 
recommending them highly for their fascinating capa- 
bilities of letting the water run off the beans without 
the trouble of taking up the lid and emptying the pot. 

There is nothing so dreary as an empty house after 
an auction has cleared aAvay everything that had made 
the four walls look friendly and homelike. The bare- 
ness and discomfort of everything combined with the 
half-lost sense of familiarity are doubly painful. The 
rooms are empty and re-echo to our loitering steps with 
harsh coldness; the passages are full of wailing draughts 
that seem to mock our mourning with their long-drawn 
sighs. Visions of past hours of pleasure and ease rise 
suddenly before us with startling clearness, peopling the 
empty spaces with the vanished forms of friends who 
will never again occupy the familiar places. The genial 
fireplace, where the lightwood used to leap up in glint- 
ing flames amid a storm of sparks, is cold and black, 
fro\vning at us with its sullen overhanging mantelpiece. 
The home is dead, leaving only the corpse of the house 
behind to remind the sorrower of happier days. We 
look sadly upon the corpse and think with aching hearts 
of how fair the home had been. 



100 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

It was Nancy's own wish to leave her native State 
and to begin life anew in Kansas, but when the actu- 
ality of her wish was ripe for accomplishment she was 
full of grief and despair. She had lived all her life in 
that home, and although America is too new a world for 
its children to have taken very firm hold of it with the 
tendrils of their affections, still, even there, people, if 
not bitten by the mania of moving, do feel a warm at- 
tachment to the scenes of their childhood. The poor 
girl sat on a heap of cornshucks in the dismantled sit- 
ting room and wept bitterly. 

" Honey-chile, de wagons is all ready, an' de chillun 
is wrap up in de warm quilts an' de buffalo robes, an' dey 
is all dar waitin' ter set out. Come 'long, chile, we mus' 
be gwine." 

" Aunt Monin," sobbed Nancy, " my heart is 
broken. I haven't got any home left, and nobody to 
care for me in this wide, wide world." 

" Chile, de Lo'd's lookin' down 'pon yo' dish bressed 
minute, an' we's all gwine ter set out for de promise' 
Ian'." 

Aunt Monin was radiant with joy and tried to start 
a chorus of Glory, halleluiah! but none of the other 
negroes responded. They remembered that other set- 
ting out for the River Jordan when they had lifted up 
their voices and sung; and they remembered, too, what 
had befallen them on that fearsome journey toward the 
promised land. So they were mute now when Nancy 
climbed into the foremost wagon and gave the signal 
for the departure. A little caravan of three canvas- 
covered wagons left the farm and disappeared down the 
road through the bare trees. At the fork the young 
girl looked out for one last sight of the home where she 
had passed all her life, but her eyes were blinded with 
tears, and she did not see the house, only a blurred shape 
bewilderingly glancing beyond the leafless trees. 



AUNT MONIN'S FREEDOM 101 

Shortly afterward they met a man with a rifle on 
his shoulder, walking down the road in an absent- 
minded way. He did not seem to notice the wagons, 
but walked on until he was almost under the noses of 
the horses. 

" Jah, mas'r, won't yer give us room? " called the 
driver of the first wagon, and the voice seemed to startle 
the absent-minded pedestrian. He looked up like one 
bewildered, and, realizing that he was in the very middle 
of the road, stepped to one side until the wagons had 
passed. Then he again went forward, looking neither 
to the right hand nor to the left, but walking like one 
in a dream, until he too came to the fork. Then he 
awoke with a start and gazed along the road at the de- 
serted house, as if he expected some fearful object to 
rush out and confront him. But what fearful object 
could come out of an utterly deserted house, unless it 
was a fearful memory? 

And so the stranger stood gazing as he leaned on his 
rifle, while the wagons crept farther and farther away 
on their joiu*ney toward the land of the free. 



CHAPTER X 

A SUSPECT 

The recollection of that sunny afternoon in October 
rose up so clearly in Heaton's mind as he stood gazing 
at the house where he had learned his first lesson in Jay- 
Hawking that he was almost unable to shake off the 
feeling that this was a part of the same terrible day. 
He looked at the bare trees to prove to himself that a 
long time had elapsed since he was here before. Then 
they had been in all the glory of autumn tints, gold and 
crimson — at least, in the morning he had thought they 
were golden yellow, but afterward they all became crim- 
son and blood red — now the trees were bare and the 
brown earth was dull and scentless, wrapped in winter 
slumber. The sounds and voices of the woods were 
stilled. No wee chattering creatures in fur or feather 
fluttered among the branches or pecked at the tree 
trunks. Everything was as still as death. Even the 
house before him looked silent and deathlike as the 
young man walked slowly toward it. There was no 
sound either of man or animal as he reached the bars, 
and his footfall upon the veranda re-echoed loudly in 
his ears. He knocked at the door, but no one answered. 
He raised the latch and looked in. Tlie room was bare 
and comfortless, not a sign of life a7iy"\\'here. Heaton 
stepped into it, and then in a flash he felt, rather than 
saw, that this was the room where he had stood last 
autumn. There had sat the man in his rocking-chair, 
103 



A SUSPECT 103 

and there he had fallen as Heaton had fired his fatal 
shot. He took a step forward and saw on the floor a 
dull red-brown stain. He knew too well what that 
must be — that doleful stain that can never be washed out 
of boards, but sinks in and lasts for years to mark the 
spot where life blood has been shed. 

" Like the stain on my heart/' said the young man 
to himself as he hurriedly left the room, closing the 
door after him. He sat down on the first step of the 
veranda, and let his head fall wearily on his hand. He 
experienced a dull sense of disappointment. He had 
come here upon a foolish, ill-defined errand, not know- 
ing exactly why he came, but from an irresistible de- 
sire to see again that poor girl and understand quite 
clearly what had become of her. This was the house, 
he knew that well enough, but the people were all 
fled, and he would now never know anything about 
her. Her wailing cry would then always ring in his 
ears as the only sound her voice was capable of jDro- 
ducing. 

" Hullo, stranger! Eeckon yer hain't got much 
comfort out o' that house, anyhow." 

Heaton started. He had not noticed the approach 
of a man, who now stood leaning against the bars. 

" No, indeed, I haven't," he replied with consider- 
able earnestness, for the words were so unexpectedly 
true and applicable to himself. 

" No, siree; it's plumb lonesome, you bet." 

" What has become of the people who lived here ? " 

" Know 'em? " inquired the man, looking keenly 
at him. 

" No," said Heaton, beginning to rouse up. 

" What yer come hyar for, then? " was the next in- 
quiry, very suspiciously delivered. 

" I am starting on a hunt, and I thought I'd stay 
over the night here, if there had been any one in the 



104 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

house," said Heaton, rapidly perceiving that his inter- 
locutor was looking askance at him. 

" Seed ary head o' game ? " 

" Not yet. Is there much about this neighbour- 
hood?" 

" What kind was yer 'lowin' ter track ? " 

" Deer/' replied tlie young man. 

" No, there ain't no deer,'' was the reply, with a 
strong emphasis on the word. 

" Or wolves? " said Heaton, hoping he was not men- 
tioning game that betrayed too great an ignorance of 
the locality. 

" No, there ain't no wolves," came the answer, with 
the same curious emphasis which Heaton had already 
noticed. 

" Well, is there any game worth while ? " 

" Yaas, we hev hed pretty tole'ble game roun' hyar 
sometimes," replied the man at the bars with a most 
exasperating drawl. 

" What do you hunt, then? " inquired Heaton, with 
some irritation at the unsatisfactory nature of the re- 
plies he had hitherto extracted from his enigmatical 
questioner. 

" Jay-Hawkers! " said he with sudden fierceness; 
and then he closed his keen eyes until they were mere 
slits, out of which he could survey an enemy safely as 
through narrow loopholes. 

Heaton felt that the situation was becoming critical, 
and that it might need all his skill to extricate himself 
from a dilemma which had ugly possibilities about it. 

" I suppose this part of the country is pretty quiet. 
You don't have any trouble here, do you? " he observed, 
with a fine assumption of carelessness. 

" We're 'lowing we'll keep it pretty quiet, you can 
lay on tliat," was the ready answer. 

" This ain't very far from Mine Creek, is it? " next 



A SUSPECT 105 

inquired the young man, with a view to leading the con- 
versation into perfectly safe lines. He was not as suc- 
cessful as he could have wished, for the next question 
he had to meet was: 

" Be yer goin' inter Kansas? " 

" Not at present. I wanted to get the bearings of 
the country, being a stranger here." 

" That's a Sharpe's carbine you've got thar. Kan- 
sas men has 'em mostly." 

" Ah, this gun," observed Heaton, rising from the 
step and preparing to walk up to the man with casual 
interest. " You've got a smooth-bore, I see." 

" Stan' back thar whar you are, stranger. Don't yer 
come nary step nigher. I don't 'low ary pusson ter git 
the draw on me, an' you're jess 'bout my best shootin' 
range now." 

" Oh, very well," said Heaton contemptuously. " I 
only wanted to show you my rifle, if you cared to see it." 

" That mought be, stranger. I ain't agoin' ter say 
you ain't all on the square, but this boss don't let nary 
man come nigher than he can fix him handy." 

Heaton backed slowly to his position on the steps of 
the veranda and sat down again with his rifle laid on his 
knees. He kept his eyes fixed upon the face of the man 
at the bars, and a scornful smile lurked around his 
bearded mouth. Keeping his eye also on Heaton, the 
suspicious Missourian sidled off until out of range, when 
he briskly walked out of sight among the trees. 

" Precious country this! " thought the young man to 
himself as he watched this cautious retreat, and then he 
remembered with a shudder that he had done all that 
one man could to add to the feeling of dread and sus- 
picion with which a Missourian would naturally view a 
stranger that might possibly hail from Kansas. 

" I swear before Heaven I'll never do another act 
which will help to embitter the feeling between my 



106 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

fellow-countrymen; but if by shedding my blood I can 
deliver my land from the curse of slavery then to the 
last drop I'll give it! " 

That was Charlie Heaton's vow as he stood in the 
silent porch of Kancy Overton's abandoned home. 

He was never then going to see this girl whose voice 
haunted him. He could never make reparation in any 
tangible way to her, as he had half hoped might be 
possible when he set out on his trip, but he could make 
vicarious atonement in some other way. The fading of 
his fanciful dream gave the young man a sense of deso- 
lation. He did not realize until the dream had faded 
how much his imagination had been alluring him with 
the idea of doing something to obtain forgiveness from 
the one whom he had most injured. Sitting on the step 
of the abandoned house, he realized all at once how ut- 
terly foolish had been his imaginings. The severe prac- 
tical spirit of his upbringing reasserted itself, and he 
gave over being a fanciful vapouring youth. Now, in- 
deed, that the dream no longer impeded his vision, he 
perceived into what a serious position it had been the 
means of leading him. He was actually carrying his 
life in his hand. He now plainly perceived that his 
Kansas get-up was recognised by the Missourians, and 
he had run into this danger for what? He knew when 
setting out that it was an expedition that would not 
commend itself to the entirely practical common- 
sense person, but now he stood revealed to himself as a 
very tolerable specimen of an idiot on account of what 
he had done. Charlie Heaton therefore came to his 
senses on the steps of Nancy's house, and resolved to 
behave like a reasonable being for the future, and to 
put vague fancies out of his mind. 

The first result of this reawakening of the Vermont 
side of his character was the determination to get him- 
self out of Missouri as quickly and as safely as he could, 



A SUSPECT 107 

and for this purpose he resolved to be exceedingly cau- 
tious. Accordingly he shouldered his rifle and started 
homeward, deciding to make for ]\Iine Creek with all 
expedition. Just before nightfall he met a couple of 
horsemen who, upon nearer observation, proved to be 
wearing the United States uniform. They stopped him 
at once, and he heard, to his great relief, by the first 
words that they uttered, that he had to deal with edu- 
cated men and officers. They questioned him narrowly 
as to where he had come from, and pricked up their ears 
when he said from Kansas. 

" How many men has Montgomery out with him in 
his army? " 

" Montgomery has no army at all," said Heaton, 
much astonished at the question. 

" We have information that he has assembled a large 
force," said the senior officer. 

" That information is very incorrect," returned the 
young man with a smile. ^' I was speaking to Mont- 
gomery not a week ago, and he had not a single man 
with him then, but was Just getting along with his farm 
work like any other settler." 

" He might have got them together since you saw 
him." 

" Hardly; settlers are not so thick around the Big 
Sugar district," said Heaton, remembering the episode 
of Athens, London, and Oak City. 

" They had a big raid last fall, when a hundred men 
turned out and ran off a lot of negroes and killed a 
number of Missourians," remarked the senior officer. 

Heaton remained discreetly silent, not considering it 
wise to set him right on the many points where his in- 
formation was hopelessly incorrect. 

" That's an army knapsack you've got. Were you 
ever a soldier? " asked the younger officer, speaking 
for the first time. 
8 



108 TEE JAY-HAWKERS 

" ISTo; I bought it from a man in Lawrence/' said 
Heaton in reply. 

" Ah, I knew you were a free-state man. Now take 
a piece of advice from one who knows something about 
these parts of the world. Clear out of Kansas unless 
you want to be mixed up in the ugliest border war you 
ever dreamed of. We're pretty near into it now, and 1 
can tell you these Missouri men are devils when their 
blood is up, and you Kansas fellows are every whit as 
bad. This isn't going to be a good spot for quiet, re- 
spectable people during the next couple of years. You 
may bet on that." 

" I dare say you are right in all probability," re- 
marked Heaton. " I shouldn't wonder if I acted upon 
the advice in a sort of a way. I'm thinking of going on 
a buffalo hunt out toward Salina." 

" A very good plan," said the officer genially. " I'd 
have you follow it out. And here's a hint for you till 
you get safe among your buffaloes. Don't go near any 
house if you can possibly help it, for as likely as not 
you'll be shot from behind your back if you do. Safe 
out of Missouri and good luck to you! " 

When Heaton came to the crossing of Mine Creek 
he saw that the waters, though by no means so high as 
on that day when they fought and lost the battle beside 
the river, were high enough to stop a man on foot. 
Anxious as he was to get across, there was nothing for 
it but to M^ait until some wagon came by which would 
ferry him over. Luck favoured him; a wagon came 
lumbering along, and a man hailed him from under the 
cover. 

" Hullo, stranger! Is the river too deep to cross? " 

" I was just wondering about it myself," answered 
Heaton. 

The individual who had first spoken disappeared in- 
side his wagon, and Heaton began to wonder if he was 



A SUSPECT 109 

going to shoot him from behind that place of conceal- 
ment. He was prepared for anything now in Missouri. 
After a moment's suspense there appeared from the tail 
of the wagon a wild-looking child, half boy, half girl, 
who clambered nimbly down by the feed box and began 
rapidly to unhitch the larger of the two horses, a big 
brown mare, who knew her well apparently, since she 
rubbed her nose confidentially upon the child's bare 
head. With the utmost speed and without a particle of 
fear the small person had the mare free of the wagon in 
a trice, when, standing upon the pole, she stripped otf 
the harness from over the animal's tail with a most 
professional twirl. Heaton had watched her proceed- 
ings with some amusement, wondering how she could 
possibly get the hames and collar off so big a horse. 
The child, however, was not at a loss as to how to pro- 
ceed. She first unbuckled the underneath strap, and 
then, putting her foot on the knee of the mare and 
twining her two vigorous hands in its mane, she liter- 
ally swung herself on its back, astride, of course. From 
this point of vantage she slung the unbuckled harness 
clear of the animal's feet and remained herself seated 
barebacked in triumph upon the unharnessed mare. 

"Well done!" exclaimed Heaton admiringly; "I 
never saw a horse unharnessed in finer style." 

The child smiled with gratification. 

" The mare ain't no trouble; I can always manage 
her. He's the bother to harness," pointing to the other 
horse, who was still hitched to the wagon. 

"Why?" 

" 'Cause he steps away when I want to put the hous- 
ing on his back, and then I fall down with it and tangle 
up." 

At this moment the child's father emerged from the 
interior of the wagon, having divested himself of all his 
heavy clothes, and coming forth clad only in shirt and 



110 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

trousers. Without a word he took the little girl's place 
on the big mare and rode straight into the water. She, 
meanwhile watching with the keenest interest, placed 
herself beside Heaton and made intelligent comments 
upon the proceedings. 

" The creek's powerful high, ain't it? " 

" Yes, it is a bad crossing." 

" Guess pap'll do it an' git 'cross on Brown Bess. 
She's mighty cute at swimmin'." 

" But see, she's stopped." 

" Oh, that ain't nothin'. Brown Bess is on'y jess 
smellin' how deep it is. Hark how she blows an' 
spouts! " 

The mare was indeed blowing loudly at the water, 
which was over the rider's bare feet and was getting 
deeper at every step she took. Very slowly they waded 
across; once only the mare went down into a hole, and 
the rider got something of a ducking. 

" Land," exclaimed the child, who at once seemed 
to grasp the situation in all its bearings, " if ther ain't 
a hole plumb in the crossin'! Guess we ain't goin' to 
get over to-night." 

But she had miscalculated the cuteness both of 
Brown Bess and her rider, who were carefully outlining 
that hole by means of their feet. When its dimensions 
were made clear to the man, he and his horse came drip- 
ping back again to where the wagon stood. 

"Can we cross, Washington?" asked a voice from 
the interior of the wagon, and for the first time Heaton 
became aware that there was a woman inside. 

" We'll try, wifie," said the rider of the wet horse. 

Heaton came forward and offered to help in any way 
that he could, and in return asked for a seat over the 
ford. The man eyed him with misgiving, especially 
the rifle and pistols, which were the most evident arti- 
cles of Heaton's equipment. 



A SUSPECT 111 

" "Well, stranger, I'm a man of peace; a nonresist- 
ant by conviction, and I don't know as I should be ex- 
actly justified in carrying so many weapons of otfence 
into Kansas, where, as I'm told, there are already too 
many." He spake with a certain sing-song cadence, as 
if he was in the habit of speaking a good deal at meeting 
with his eyes shut. 

" You needn't be alarmed," said Heaton, suppress- 
ing a smile with some difficulty; " my warlike arms are 
not intended for the slaughter of anything more ter- 
rible than a few buffaloes for food." 

" Stranger, I don't know as it would be possible to 
put firearms to a worse use. I can't think of a greater 
waste, and a wickeder waste, than killing innocent crea- 
tures in order to poison human beings," said he with 
fervour. 

" I'm not going to poison anybody," answered 
Heaton with amazement. " I am only going to get 
food for myself." 

" Buffalo meat is poison, deadly poison. I'm a vege- 
tarian by conviction," returned the man impressively. 

" Oh! " said Heaton with feebleness, but he really 
did not know what else to say. 

" Yes, I am, and I think for human beings to eat 
dead corpses " 

" Washington, are you going to cross or are you 
not? " called a sharp voice from the inside. 

" Yes, yes, to be sure. Stranger, Just lend a hand 
to help hoist up this load, would you? I've got a few 
planks, and we can put them across the body of the 
wagon, and then we'll put the women's truck on top of 
them to keep dry." 

Washington spoke sharply and quickly, very much 
to the purpose, moreover, as if he had roused up from 
the meeting with shut eyes, and had opened them to 
become a thoroughly practical man, unbothered by con- 



112 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

victions of any sort. The planks were rapidly made 
into a kind of platform, upon which was reared a pyra- 
mid of " women's truck " which could not stand water, 
such as sugar, flour, rice, etc. This being fastened 
down, was to be held in position by Heaton, and they 
were ready for the great effort. 

There was first a fierce downward plunge through 
the gully that cut the steep mud banks, before they 
reached the water at all. The reins were already being 
tightened in Washington's grasp, the whip was raised, 
when Heaton suddenly called out: 

" Where's the child? She isn't in the wagon." 

" She's putting on the drag to the hind wheel. 
Gee up, Bess! Now, then! Easy! Whoa! Easy! 
Easy, now! " 

The wagon lurched, pitched, rushed down the steep, 
slippery gully, stopped for one second at the edge of the 
water, when Heaton heard the sharp rattle of the drag 
chain, then into the water with them. The little girl 
was nowhere to be seen, but Heaton had all he could do 
to keep his load steady, and had no spare attention to 
bestow on her for the moment. The water rose in the 
body of the wagon, and he realized that he was standing 
in exceedingly cold water. The vehicle creaked and 
the horses snorted loudly, the waters swirled by. The 
driver stood up and yelled to his animals. 

" Lord a mussy," said the wife, " my bag o' flour 
'ull be wet, and it's the very best whites! " 

The water remained stationary; they swayed gently 
along, cleared safely that hole in the middle, and at 
length began to emerge from the creek. 

"Now, then, go it! Bess, Bill! Geeup! Hisk 
now, gerree! " 

You could hear the horses as they strained at the 
collar. They were struggling up the companion gully 
at the other side out of the river. Yoii could hear their 



A SUSPECT 113 

muscles almost crack with the tension, and there was 
the child whooping and screeching at them, dancing in 
an ecstasy of excitement under their very noses, as they 
laboured valiantly through the sticky mud. At length 
they stood on the top, panting, trembling in every limb, 
and the driver jumped down to see if anything had been 
smashed in the struggle, and Heaton jumped down too 
to ask the little girl how she had got over. 

" In the feed box, behind there," she answered, 
pointing to a small trough fastened to the rear of the 
wagon; " I hopped in just at the minute I took the 
drag off, when the hind wheel was running into the 
water." The mother felt her bag of " best whites," and 
finding even the bottom untouched by water gave a sigh 
of relief. 

" I shall have my sody biscuits, after all," she re- 
marked with a smack of her thin lips. 

" Ugly, ain't it? " said Washington, feeling his 
horses' legs carefully one by one; " kills the critters, 
that sort o' work." 

" Very hard on them indeed," replied Heaton; " but 
you did it in fine style. Thank you for the ferry. I 
don't know how I should have got across without your 
help." 

" You're welcome, stranger. Goin' far? " 

" I've got a cabin at Keokuk. I must get there 
some time." 

" Afoot? " 

" Yes; I'm walking." 

" Our house ain't far off, if you'd like to break your 
journey. — Eh, wife? " 

" Of course," said the wife, cordially re-echoing her 
husband's invitation; " and I'll have some sody bis- 
cuits to-night, the minute we get home." 

" Thank you; I'll accept with pleasure," answered 
Heaton, to whom this hospitality was doubly welcome. 



X14 THE JAY-IIAWKBRS 

since he was far from home, and had not a notion where 
he should otherwise have spent the night. 

" Mam's sody biscuits is jess plumb," said the child, 
sitting down beside him and gathering up the reins in 
her small brown hands, while her father dived into the 
wagon to put on again the warm clothes which he had 
thrown off for the anxious and difficult effort of the 
crossing of Mine Creek. 

Resisting very earnest appeals to become a vegeta- 
rian and to settle down on the next quarter section and 
help them spread their principles, Heaton left his kind 
hosts after a couple of days and returned home in 
order to make preparations for his buffalo hunt. Be- 
sides being an exciting adventure, the trip was going to 
be a profitable one as well. Food was scarce in Kansas, 
owing to the drought of the preceding summer. It was 
called a " famine " in excitable newspaper articles, but 
fortunately people in Kansas did not know what a real 
famine was, and so gave that name of terrible signifi- 
cance to the scarcity of food which had begun to make 
itself felt. 

A strong young fellow, who was a capital shot, could 
not better employ his strength and skill than in hunting 
to obtain food which he could easily sell at good prices. 
Accordingly, soon after that mad expedition into ]\Iis- 
souri, Heaton closed the door of his cabin at Keokuk, 
and went up to Lawrence. His plan was to join with a 
young fellow of his acquaintance, John P. Eidgway, to 
provide themselves with a couple of teams, and to start 
for the plains as soon as possible. Salina was their 
ultimate destination, a place as its name indicates, on 
the edge of that great alkali region where Nature had 
taken heed, by impregnating the water with poisonous 
salts, to keep man at bay, at any rate, for some time. 
The buffaloes like to browse on such plains, for the salt 
licks, as they are called, form inexhaustible spots of do- 



A SUSPECT 115 

light to them, while if they take care to have a running- 
river within measurable distance of their feeding 
grounds they can bid defiance to thirst. 

One journey across the dull, monotonous prairie is 
very like another. There is the early start in the gray 
starlight of the winter's morning, when the horses' bits 
are so cold that the animals rear when they are being 
forced into their mouths and one's fingers are so numb 
that buckles and straps become endowed with a miracu- 
lous power of not fitting into each other. There is the 
cold choking breakfast of corn bread and dried beef, al- 
most as hard to chew as a feed of oats, after which there 
is a stiff climb into the driving seat. Hard, unyielding 
buffalo robes are drawn about one's frozen feet, and stiff- 
ened half-dried gloves are pulled over one's awkward 
fingers; these exhaust the possible comforts of the heed- 
ful driver. A swear or two, and the journey begins just 
as the chill sun comes winking over a frosty horizon. 
Then comes a long morning of endless rolling prairie, 
trotted over if the load be light and the horses strong 
and well fed, crawled over with a full wagon or a weak 
team. This puts one to sleep, bobbing and nodding 
over the reins. There is no interest, no exciteuient, no 
nothing. There is not even a ditch to fall into. No, 
nor a stone or a bush that the horses might shy at, if the 
poor brutes' faculty for shying had not been worn out 
of them years before by hard work. 

There is nothing but brownish yellow dry grass for 
miles and miles in all directions, with a wriggling thread 
of a road creeping along among its mounds and rolling 
slopes — a mere track, scarce to be distinguished from no 
track, but laid down on maps and spoken of by pro- 
spective settlers and boasting land agents as (in this 
case) the great Santa Fe road. 

There is the midday halt, a time of relaxation for 
man and beast in a long winter's journey. The sun has 



116 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

warmed the world. Fingers, buffalo robes, and straps 
and buckles are limber once more and have become 
workable. The corn bread and dried beef choke less 
emphatically than in the morning. There is perchance 
milk to drink with it, if a settler's house has been lately 
passed, and there is a good long stretch to be enjoyed 
in the yellow grass. ' The horses munch their corn 
gratefully and go to sleep standing, their great heads 
dropping lower and lower, until their noses bump 
against the hub of the hind wheel, when they awake 
with a start and a rattle of their harness that arouses the 
sleepy drivers in the grass. Then there is the long 
afternoon, the counterpart of the morning, with the 
pleasant prospect of the dinner halt left out, to be 
ended after dusk by the night's camp. A hot supj^er 
and a fire for your feet are the great luxuries of camping 
out, tempered by smoky food and blisters on your fin- 
gers from handling burning sticks. One hour of per- 
haps perfect enjoyment is now relished as the drivers 
sit round the fire and smoke their well-earned pipes. 
This is the time for good stories and pleasant talk. If 
there is an absence of wind and snow and rain, coupled 
with the bodily presence of plenty of brushwood and 
sticks, a good fire may be built and a comfortable night 
may be passed by tired teamsters with their toes to the 
fire and their noses under bufl'alo robes. After the 
night comes the morning with its repetition of dark- 
ness, cold, and the dismal work of getting under way 
before sunup. 

Heaton and his chum were good hands at camping, 
the former because he was a healthy young fellow who 
did not mind roughing it, the latter because he was an 
old hand at it, and knew how to extract the greatest 
possible comfort out of the most unpromising circum- 
stances. He could select a good camping out place 
with unerring judgment, and make a warm dry bed for 



A SUSPECT 117 

himself if there was an armful of prairie grass to be got 
anywhere round. Heaton enjoyed the wildness and 
novelty of it all, but his friend Ridgway, as soon as he 
had provided for his immediate comfort, used to think 
of nothing but of how much money he could make by 
selling the meat they were going to get. 

The air was full of rumours of war. South Carolina 
had seceded, and newspapers printed in Charleston used 
to head items from Washington as, " News from 
Abroad.'^ Men did not know clearly what was before 
the nation, but the blindest could not fail to perceive 
that a crisis was approaching which would decide a 
people's destiny. Around their camp fire at night the 
two young men had many a discussion about the prob- 
able course of events. 

" I'll bet my bottom dollar on war," Ridgway would 
say. He was an educated man, but his education was 
now somewhat obscured by a hea%^ varnish of Western 
thought and expression. 

" I'm afraid it must come to that," Heaton would 
answer. 

" Afraid! " exclaimed Ridgrv^ay, after one of these 
customaiy preliminaries of conversation. " Western 
men haven't got much to be afraid of in a thundering 
good war, anyhow." 

" But war is never good, whether thundering or not. 
It is a terrible evil, only to be resorted to in order to 
avert a greater." 

" That may be the case with you Eastern men. But 
see how it will work here. Prices will go up like 
shot." 

" Will you volunteer? " asked Heaton, not inter- 
ested in prices whether up or down. 

" No, siree. I sha'n't enlist, I can tell you. I'll buy 
up all the horses I can lay a finger on and sell them 
down at Fort Leavenworth. That's what I advise you 



118 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

to .do too. There's a pile to be made out of that, if 
only we have a war." 

" I shall volunteer," repeated Heaton dreamily. 

" Catch me! " remarked Ridgway. 

" Perhaps there'll be enforced enlistment. You'd 
be taken among the first, a strapping young fellow and 
a good shot," observed Heaton. 

" I'll get my front teeth drawn sooner than that," 
said Eidgway, with decision. 

" What good would that do ? Only spoil your 
beauty." 

" I couldn't bite off the cartridges. I heard a fellow 
say at Fort Leavenworth that no man could be a soldier 
now who couldn't bite with his front teeth, on account 
of these new cartridges." 

Heaton laughed. " You weren't born yesterday, 
that's clear, anyway. 

" There ain't no one'll take such good care of John 
P. Eidgway as I shall, you bet." 

He was not really a bad young fellow at heart, for all 
he was so self-centred. He didn't " lay out " to be any- 
thing else than a thoroughly wide-awake Western man, 
trying to get ahead of every other man if he possibly 
could, but he was good-natured to his friends and was 
not at all selfish in little things, which, after all, is what 
tells in e very-day life. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE BUFFALO HUNT 

Salina was a miserable little squatter town on the 
very last limit of civilization. It would have been ut- 
terly ashamed of itself only that it looked hopefully for- 
ward to the day when it should be a proud city. It 
never reached that day, but this failure could not be 
expected to trouble its early aspirations, any more than 
the prospective failure of a middle-aged man could 
weigh in anticipation on his boyhood. Salina was 
young, therefore she was proud and hopeful. South of 
Salina, some thirteen miles away, rise the " Smoky 
Hills," as lonely and desolate a place as can well be 
imagined, but one possessed of a certain fascination for 
travellers in the days long ago when that region was as 
yet well-nigh unexplored. No interest attaches to a 
low range of monotonous hills when you know exactly 
what other range comes next, and so on and so forth 
to the end of the map. But when Heaton went to 
Salina the Smoky Hills were the very edge of civiliza- 
tion. Be5^ond them imagination and the buffaloes held 
possession of the plains, and this was exhilarating. 
When one morning he walked toward them and saw a 
small ravine with some trees refracted clean out of the 
depression in which they habitually lay he felt a keen 
delight in the novel spectacle. The blue haze which 
liangs over the hills and which furnishes them with 
their name was still visible in winter, though in a less 

119 



120 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

degree than in summer and autumn. Beyond these 
delights of pure sentiment Salina possesses no charm 
whatever^ and after laying in a further supply of neces- 
sary provisions the hunters went forward. 

A local man, a wolf hunter, accompanied them in 
order to get their protection in return for hints about 
the country, such as strangers might find useful. Wolf 
hunter is a fine sounding name for one who followed a 
mean and most unsportsmanlike trade. Never a shot 
fired he, never a trap did he set, but merely entered 
upon his trip with his pockets stufi'ed with strychnine. 
Having poisoned a quantity of meat near some water he 
sat down and waited. The wolves came, ate, drank, 
and were conquered. This wholesale poisoning cleared 
every dog out of the country as well as the wolves. 
When man invades a new region he lays about him right 
masterfully; trees, animals, everything is swept away 
wholesale, until nothing remains but malarial fever and 
the mosquitoes to reduce him to a proper sense of his 
own relations to the universe. 

Twenty-five miles was a short day's trip, but as 
that was the distance of a certain cave known to the 
wolf killer Heaton and Ridgway determined to camp 
there for the night. 

" It's a powerful cute cave,"' said the wolf killer; 
" slep' there heap o' times. There ain't nothin' better 
nor a cave, mos' as lief sleep there as in any cabin I ever 
seed. There ain't no children screechin' in the cave, 
and they most allers is in cabins. Children is pesky 
critturs for making noises." He was in the habit of 
lying " in cache " for the wolves to come along and feed 
on his poison meat, so the constant noise of children 
struck him as something particularly odious and diffi- 
cult to deal with. 

" Land o' liberty! do you call that a cave? " cried 
llidgway, when he was shown a hole in the rock where 



THE BUFFALO HUNT 121 

a man could with circumspection stand up in one spot 
only. 

" Wal, I guess you won't git any better cave nor 
this — no, not if you scour the plain as far as Pike's 
Peak," said the wolf killer, somewhat crestfallen at the 
scorn with which his cave was viewed. 

" It's bigger than the wagon, at any rate," said 
Heaton politely. 

" Guess if that ar cloud come 'long this er way you 
won't find the cave so bad." 

They all three got into the cave and soon fell asleep, 
as tired men do when they lie down. In the middle of 
the night Heaton was roused by feeling something tug- 
ging at his beard. He put up his hand and caught 
hold of a rat. 

" Yah! " he yelled, having a special horror of rats. 
At the same instant there was a flash of lightning and a 
clap of thunder right overhead. 

" What's the matter with you? " growled Eidgway. 
" Are you struck by lightning? " 

" No," said Heaton; " but there was a rat eating my 
beard." 

" What a tarnation howl for nothin'! " remarked tlie 
wolf killer, wrapping his head in his bufi'alo robe and 
going off to sleep again. 

It thundered and lightened and rained a good part 
of the night, but the cave kept the men dry. When 
they saw their soaked wagon covers in the morning, 
with the wet trickling down every rib and making pools 
inside, the wolf killer asked, with a triumphant air: 

" Wal, what d'yer think o' the cave now yer've tried 
it?" 

" I wouldn't have been anywhere else last night for 
ten dollars," said Ridgway, making the amende liono- 
rable. 

" Jess so. I 'lowed you'd fin' it fust-rate when you 



122 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

knowed by trial what it was. I don't never say what 
a horse is worth myself until I've tried it." 

" It's a good, safe rule to go on," assented Heaton. 

The wolf killer grinned affably, 

" You'll be a-scenting them buffaloes 'bout sundown 
to-morrow," he observed by way of parting advice, as 
the young men were preparing to go their way. " Buff- 
loes ain't afeared of nothin' 'cept a man stan''ing on his 
hind legs. You'll have to crope up on yer belly ter git 
inter range. The bulls is pesky critters to kill an' pow- 
erful tough to eat." 

" We sha'n't waste a shot on a bull, I can tell you," 
remarked Ridgway. " We ain't like those fellows that 
jest lamm away at anything for the fun of it. We're 
going to make money out of this business or I'll declare 
off, I will." 

" Guess you're smart 'nough, so I'll git, anyhow. 
Mornin'." 

He trudged off through the short yellow grass, and 
tlie young men drove away i'n another direction, and 
they soon lost sight of each other. 

It was not without reason that the wolf hunter had 
said they would be " scenting " the buffaloes, for the 
first intimation that the hunters had of the proximity 
of their game was conveyed to them by the sense of 
smell. Dead animals in every stage of decomposition 
were strewn all along the track they were following. A 
great amount of buffalo meat had been taken in this 
season of dearth, but the slaughter and waste had been 
greater still. Animals had been destroyed by the thou- 
sand, to serve no possible good, while their rotting car- 
casses only helped. to vitiate the air for miles around. 
The buffaloes backed slowly farther and farther away 
from the destructive advance of man, and were fully 
sixty miles from Salina when Iloaton and Itidgway went 
forth to hunt. 



THE BUFFALO HUNT 123 

A long dreary day of drizzling rain had to be en- 
dured before they reached the hunting grounds. Ridg- 
way was filled with disgust. 

" Unless this wet spell stops we sha'n't be able to 
save half our meat. We can't salt very much, and 
there'll be no keeping it unless we are helped by a 
frost." 

The outlook was not cheering from the money point 
of view, but when they saw a dark brown line against 
the distant horizon their spirits rose and the hunter in- 
stinct was awakened. 

These were the buffaloes. 

The wagons and horses were left, and the hunt be- 
gan by Heaton and Ridgway walking on their hands and 
knees for fully half a mile. Never before had Heaton 
covered so short a distance in so painful a manner. His 
knees were bruised and so were his hands, his shoul- 
ders ached, and his head seemed to be bursting with the 
pressure on the back of his neck. Several times he 
lay flat down in his misery and actually groaned. 
Eidgway also lay down, only he swore with vigour to 
relieve the pressure of his feelings. Again they crept 
forward, in single file this time so as to lesson the 
chance of being seen, Ridgway in front with the 
muzzle of his gun pointing forward, Heaton just be- 
hind with his muzzle pointing backward. At last 
they got within a long-range shot, when an old cow, 
who had been looking intently at them from a slight 
hillock, came to the conclusion that there was some- 
thing uncanny in the curious long beast that was 
creeping up. She gave a loud bellow of alarm, and 
instantly the whole herd galloped off a half mile or 
more. 

" The blamed critters! " said Ridgway in disgust. 
" Just see how spry they scoot along on all fours and 
look at us! " 
9 



12i THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Heaton lay on his back and stretched himself in 
order to rest his strained muscles. 

" I suppose we'll have to crawl after them. About 
what is a good day's march for a buffalo hunt, eh? Two 
miles? I don't think my knees will stand more than 
that," he observed, looking up at the watery sky. The 
rain had stopped, but the ground was wet to add to 
their discomfort. 

" Now, whatever you do, mind and don't hit a bull," 
said his companion. " They always charge when 
wounded, and they are the deuce to manage. You 
might as well have a tiger at you. There was a fellow 
killed here this summer, I hear — a fool of an Irishman; 
he got his dander up shooting and blazed away anyhow. 
The first thing he knew he hit a bull in the flank, but 
didn't break a leg or disable him, and the next thing 
he knew that bull was down on him like a streak of 
greased lightnin', and the Irishman was gone to the 
place where good Irishmen go, or where the bad ones 
are sent to — jest tossed clean out o' life while you'd say 
' Stars and Stripes.' " 

Again they crawled or rather wormed themselves 
forward, single file as before, and this time they got near 
enough for Ridgway to fire. He did so, and the animal 
instantly lowered his head. 

"Jerusalem, if it ain't a bull!" exclaimed the 
hunter, enlightened as to the sex of the buffalo by the 
way in which it had resented being shot. 

"Lord!" exclaimed Heaton; "what had best be 
done? " 

" Lie quite still; he don't see us. He's a young one 
and not very cute yet. He don't know what to do." 

" Lucky for us! " 

" You bet. Guess I'll be more careful next time," 
said Ridgway, considerably crestfallen at his mistake. 

They lay still a long time until the herd had again 



THE BUFFALO HUNT 125 

settled down to feeding, and then they got a little nearer 
by working themselves forward with their elbows while 
lying flat on their stomachs. 

" A quarter of a mile a week would be a good racing 
record for this method of locomotion," remarked Hea- 
ton, with concentrated scorn. 

They were now within about a hundred yards of the 
herd — as near as it was safe to get. 

" Now, then, show your style. We sha'n't get a bet- 
ter range than this," said Eidgway. 

Heaton fired, and a fat cow fell. 

Instantly the herd was in commotion. They never 
attempted to run away, but crowded round their 
wounded comrade and showed the greatest concern for 
her, bellowing and making cries of distress. As she 
fell to rise no more the bulls became greatly agitated. 
They tried to raise her with their horns, putting their 
great shaggy heads under her heaving flanks and doing 
their best to prop her up and get her on her feet again. 

" Poor brutes! " said Heaton, watching their futile 
efforts with a feeling of pity. " See how distressed they 
are! Man only is remorseless, crushing and destroying 
everything in his relentless march toward his own com- 
fort." 

Two more young heifers were shot. The bulls faced 
round, forming a ring on the outside of the herd, bel- 
lowing and glaring in aimless fury at the invisible foe 
that was harassing them. There was a vast amount of 
useless courage and anger stored up in their shaggy 
breasts, if only they had known upon whom and what 
to expend it. Fortunately for the hunters they did not 
know, so the men lay in the grass loading and firing 
very slowly and with much difficulty, while the bulls 
stamped and pawed and bellowed to no purpose. As 
often as they quieted down and opened the line of de- 
fence somewhat, another shot, another pinging whir 



12G THE JAY-IIAWKERS 

through tlie air, and another bellow of despair, told 
that some one had fired and some one had fallen. And 
after each shot the bulls offered again their useless help 
in trying to raise the stricken cow, and again faced 
round and roared and bellowed with impotent rage. 
They did not understand that it was the firing did them 
the harm, or they could easily have trotted out of harm's 
way; or possibly they did understand that, but could not 
make out where the shot came from, seeing no enemy. 

The hunt, if that is the name to be given to the 
crawl, and the snake wriggle, and the firing, had lasted 
about three hours, when Eidgway said: 

" We've got two wagon loads now; we can't carry off 
any more meat." 

" Then in Heaven's name let us stop; I've had 
enough of shooting like this," said Heaton, who very 
quickly got his fill of mere killing. " How shall we 
drive off the herd so that we can gather up our meat? " 

" Just stand up, and say Glory, halleluiah ! or Star- 
Spangled Banner, or any other tarnation thing you like, 
loud enough, and they'll stampede straight." 

So they stood up and yelled in unison, and the buffa- 
loes, at last recognising the enemy of their race, gal- 
loped' off in terror, with a few wounded animals in their 
midst, who later, no doubt, dropped in their tracks and 
added a few more whiffs to the pestiferous air of the 
plains where the hunters love to operate. 

Two puny men standing up and yelling at a thou- 
sand buffaloes to make them run is surely a striking 
example of the force of mind over matter. Any one of 
those bulls could have crushed the life out of those 
hunters, the herd with a rush could have stamped them 
into dust in a few seconds, and yet they fled before 
their puny adversaries, carrying away in one thunder- 
ous rush all that strength and courage with which they 
had been so uselessly endowed. The mighty herds that 



THE BUFFALO HUNT 127 

used to darken the prairies in the days long ago are all 
gone, and in their place stands man, lord of creation, 
exiiltingly surveying the desert which he has made 
around him by the extermination of the wild creatures 
of the earth. Instead of buffaloes on the prairies, as in 
the brave days of old, we now have the domestic pig 
wallowing in the mire and eating the putrid slush of 
kitchen refuse; and this is civilization! Some of us 
there are who would prefer the buffaloes. 

And now there followed another scene in the pro- 
ceedings of so disagreeable a character that we had best 
draw a veil over it, and if the veil were anything like 
Heaton, his hands, his clothes, his hair, his boots, in 
fact every inch of him, it would be a very bloody veil 
indeed. 

Suffice it to say that after two days of desperate hard 
work they had all their meat safe and salted down and 
packed in the wagons. The buffalo hides were rolled 
up tight and placed at the bottom of the wagons under 
the meat, while the beefsteaks, cut into long thin strips, 
were hung all over the outside, thus ornamenting the 
canvas covers with a gruesome fringe. Heaton's nerves 
were none of the strongest, and he was disgusted witli 
the details of the job, but he never shirked his share 
of the work from first to last. But when it was all over 
and he had made a certain amount of progress toward 
cleaning himself once more he remarked, while putting 
his hunting knife finally into its sheath: 

" Well, if there is one thing that would make a man 
abjure the flesh and the devil and turn vegetarian I 
think it is a spell of butchering work after a buffalo 
himt." 

The long homeward journey back across the plains 
to civilization and conmiercial profits began under the 
happiest auspices. The weather " had come round," 
Ridgway remarked, as if it was a sulky person who was 



128 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

beginning to relent into civility again. The wet drizzle 
had ceased, and a dry northwest wind was blowing keen- 
ly across the open prairie. The sharp wind searched 
out the sore and bruised spots on their knees and made 
them smart. But it was good for their load of meat, 
and morning, noon, and night, when the load had to be 
taken out, shifted, salted, and smelled anew, he greeted 
the wind with many words of approval and commenda- 
tion. 

" This is bully. We sha'n't lose a pound of meat if 
it lasts. We could stand a spell of yet colder weather 
though." 

And the wind kindly accommodated them with " a 
spell." It froze at night and did not thaw by day. 
The loads of meat did not require three shifts a day, 
but only two. The strips of beefsteak outside got stiff 
and rattled against the stays of the wagons in a grizzly 
manner, " like dead men's bones," Heaton suggested. 

At Fort Riley they had their horses fresh shod with 
frost calks. The people there urged them to stay, as 
the weather looked like turning dangerously cold. It 
had done so a couple of years before, when several team- 
sters, caught out in a snowstorm, had been frozen to 
death. But the young men felt equal to withstanding 
any amount of cold themselves, and they were anxious 
to sell their meat. They were advised in any case to 
avoid passing through the Pottawatomi reservation, 
since there the houses were few and far between, and it 
would be hard for them to obtain shelter. So, at the 
cost of making their journey somewhat longer, they de- 
termined to take the southern and more settled route to ' 
Lawrence. 

This route would take them through such classic 
and poetic spots as Mountain City, Alma, Brownsville, 
Cow Corner, Carthage, and Big Spring. At eacli of 
these centres the blacksmith at Fort Eiley could vouch 



THE BUFFALO HUNT 129 

for the existence of log cabins, whether inhabited or 
not he could not undertake to say, not having " hearn 
tell " of the district for some time past. It was not the 
season for much traffic. 

The northwest wind blew keener and keener, the 
meat was frozen into solid chunks and had not to be 
shifted at all, which saved them a good deal of labour, 
but the creeks were beginning to freeze, and they had 
to break the ice with axes before crossing, which was 
wet and miserably cold work. The ice, it should be 
observed, was in the intermediate stage of freezing, 
thick enough to make the horses slip and run the risk 
of breaking their legs, and yet not thick enough to bear 
the weight of the wagons. 

" Guess we'll have earned our money when we get 
it," observed Eidgway, as he sat on the frozen ground 
and pulled off his fast-freezing boots in order to put on 
a dry pair. They had Just passed a very nasty creek, 
neither water nor hard ice, but an abominable compro- 
mise between the two, through which they had to hack 
their way up to their knees in freezing water. 

"It's all right if only it doesn't snow," observed 
Heaton, looking anxiously at the sky. " Out in Ver- 
mont we used always to look for snow with a lead-col- 
oured sky like that in winter." 

" Gol dern it, if it snows we'll never get through," 
said Eidgway, looking anxiously at the leaden sky him- 
self. " We're eight miles from Carthage by my reckon- 
ing. Let's push ahead and cross the last creek by day- 
light, anyhow. Once we get out of the bottom land we 
can smell our way to Carthage, I reckon." 

So they pushed along as fast as tired and heavy- 
laden horses could, and got through the creek by the 
last shreds of daylight, just as a few fine flakes of snow, 
or rather snow dust, began to be driven against their 
faces by a fierce northwester. 



130 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" This is one of those Dakota gales the Indians tell 
about, saying they bury men as they walk and smother 
buffaloes in their tracks. If Carthage don't show up 
pretty smart we'll go the way of the buffaloes, I reckon." 

Eidgway was clearly anxious, and made all possible 
haste, but it was slow work, since the long hill out of 
the bottom lands had necessitated their doubling teams 
to draw up the wagons. One load was standing safely 
on the high prairie, and the four horses had brought up 
the second nearly to ^he top, when the snowstorm be- 
came rapidly thicker. 

Heaton was in front with a lantern trying to make 
out the track, when a sudden snap and a stoppage of the 
horses betokened disaster. 

" Wliat's the matter? " he shouted through the 
storm, 

" Don't know yet," said Eidgway, climbing down out 
of his driving seat and beginning to feel among the 
horses and the harness for evidence of the nature of the 
disaster which had stopped them. Heaton came up to 
him with the lantern. 

" The pole, by Jupiter! " exclaimed Eidgway. 
" Broken clean across." 

" That's a pretty how d'ye do," said Heaton. 
" What's to be done now? " 

" We've got to leave this wagon here in its tracks 
and go ahead with the other to Carthage. Guess we'll 
make it to-night with four horses." 

" And leave this wagon here in the road! Suppose 
other folks come by — there'll be a collision," remarked 
Heaton. 

" Guess there ain't no other fools cavortin' around 
to-night 'cept ourselves," replied Eidgway with a laugh, 
as he began to get his horses free from the disabled 
wagon as fast as he could. 

Meantime the snowstorm was becoming every min- 



THE BUFFALO BUNT 131 

ute more severe and the cold more biting. It was with 
difficulty that they were able to make out the other 
wagon in the blinding storm. The horses got fright- 
ened, and, tired as they were, would hardly stand to be 
hitched up. 

" We'll freeze if we attempt to camp in such a gale. 
We must try for Carthage. It lies due east two miles 
from the crossing," said Eidgway, setting his teeth and 
roaring at Heaton, who was carrying the lantern in 
order to show the track more clearly to the driver of the 
wagon. The storm and the darkness increased. The 
fringe of frozen meat rattled furiously upon the wagon 
top, almost frightening even Eidgway by the tremen- 
dous bumps it gave. The driving snow seemed like a 
dust storm, so fine and dry as almost to smother them. 
The horses commenced to cough and sneeze, evidently 
suffering also, and the youngest began to pant as if 
choking. Suddenly the wagon went plumb down on 
one side and stuck. Eidg^vay got down again and 
Heaton came back. 

" Another pole gone? " 

" No. Got into a ploughed furrow, by gosh. Car- 
thage ain't a pistol shot from here, if we can only find it 
in this blamed storm." 

" If it's only a pistol shot away a pistol shot will 
rouse it up. I'll fire into the air." 

" 'Tain't a hkd notion. Blaze away." 

Heaton fired, and very faintly across the storm there 
came the sound of a dog barking. 

"Hark! That's it," said Eidgway. " It's straight 
ahead." 

" I thought it came from the right," said Heaton. 

" Try the horses. My gray mare's as good as a com- 
pass. You bet she knows straighter than we do where 
that bark came from." 

When the horses were unfastened from the wagon 



132 THE JAY-IIAWKERS 

the young men mounted the best of each pair, and the 
gray mare was given her head. She started straight off 
nearly in the direction they had come, heading against 
the storm, with ears laid back on her neck and head 
down. The others followed, snorting and coughing, 
much frightened at the howling storm. 

" The mare's at fault," said Eidgway, pulling her 
up and ranging alongside of Heaton. " We've lost the 
scent and the wagon too. We'll freeze here inside the 
ploughed land 'less we can make that blamed cabin." 

" I'll try another shot," said Heaton, suiting the ac- 
tion to the word. A much louder bark answered the 
signal, and a faint flashing light seemed to flicker be- 
fore them. The gray mare whinnied. 

" By Jupiter! she's right as usual," cried Eidg^vay 
triumphantly. " Good old girl! " 

Not twenty yards away they came upon a fence. 
Tlic barking grew louder, and mingled with it and the 
roar of the storm there came a faint cry, as of a woman's 
voice. Another flicker of light. 

" They're signalling to us," said Heaton, and raising 
his voice he gave a long-sustained, high-pitched Swiss 
yodel note, which sounded over the roar of the storm, 
and was answered by a chorus of screamings. 

" Dish way. Sambo; dish 'ere de bars! " yelled the 
voice of an unmistakable negro. 

" I never knew a darky act so well the part of an 
angel of light," said Eidgway, coming up to the bars 
which a pair of young negroes were letting down with 
energy. 

" Dat yo', Sambo? " they asked. 

"Where's the house?" asked Eidgway in reply. 
" Show us the way." 

The lads led the men and their horses toward the 
glimmering light. The door was open, and a darkly 
outlined figure stood there. 



THE BUFFALO HUNT I33 

" Can you take us in, stranger? " asked Eidgway. 
" We're caught by the storm, and we've got four horses 
here." 

" Certainly," answered a sweet girlish voice. " It's 
an awful night for man or horse. Pete and Moses, go 
and show them the stable. There is room for four 
horses and there is some fodder. Isn't Sambo come ? " 
she added to Moses. 

" No; only white gen'lemen," he replied. 

" Thank you, madam," said Heaton. 

" Thank your stars we're out of that storm. We'd 
have all been dead by morning," remarked Eidgway to 
Heaton as they followed, under the guidance of the 
darkies, to where there was shelter to be obtained for 
their exhausted horses. 



CHAPTER XII 

HELP AT NEED 

It will be remembered that when Nancy Overton 
sold her farm in Missouri it was with the object of pro- 
ceeding into Kansas and settling on free soil along with 
her negroes, to whom she would thereby give their 
freedom. fShe was only a young and generous girl, very 
ignorant of the world and its ways, following in a very 
impulsive manner her own high purpose without much 
forethought. For example, had she been wise, or 
" cute," as the expression goes, she would never have 
gone to settle in the dead of winter, but would have 
waited until the spring opened. But she never thought 
of that. She was eager to be gone with her slaves and 
save them while yet there was time. 

The journey took more money than she had ex- 
pected, so that she found herself unable to buy a farm 
large enough for her small colony near Lawrence. 
Prices were too high. People told her, however, that 
she could get land very cheap a little way west, and in 
particular at a spot called Carthage. There the soil was 
good, the river valley gave convenient timber, and alto- 
gether it was represented as an ideal spot. So Nancy, 
Avith her negroes, departed out of Lawrence and went 
to Carthage. Sure enough she found a little cluster of 
cabins of various sizes, and among them one very toler- 
able house. The place belonged to a man who was eager 
to sell. He had had ague for eight weeks, and so had 
104 



HELP AT NEED 135 

his family; they were indeed mere shaking skeletons. 
Nancy quickly concluded the bargain, buying the land, 
farming implements, and a few gaunt specimens of 
cows from the sickly owner. She paid very nearly all 
the ready money she had, and was obliged to throw in 
one wagon and a pair of horses besides. Into this 
wagon the late owner got and drove away, leaving Nancy 
the sole owner of the aspiring town of Carthage, with 
the land thereunto appertaining. 

There were several log cabins collected around the 
house, and into these Nancy apportioned her negroes, 
some twelve souls in all, including the children. Now, 
twelve people, even if their skins be black, eat a good 
deal, and before she had been many days in her new 
house Nancy realized that she had not enough corn on 
the premises to keep them going for a week. She dis- 
covered to her horror that the corn stacks, which she 
had bought standing, and which looked fine enough, 
had been burrowed into and were almost skinned of 
their ears of corn. She had never properly calculated 
either the food supply or the trickiness of a Western 
farmer, and the vender had not reminded her of her 
omission. The Carthaginian indeed, true to his name, 
had displayed a veritable " Punic perfidy." The coun- 
try round about was bare of inhabitants. They had fled 
from the wrath to come in the shape of scarcity of food, 
which was likely to become greater and greater as time 
went on. Tecumseh, the nearest town, was seven miles 
away, and was too busy with its own affairs to be both- 
ered with a young woman and a parcel of freed negroes. 

These poor creatures were not much consolation to 
their somewhat quixotic mistress, at least with the ex- 
ception of Aunt Monin. They had of course no self- 
dependence, but expected to be fed regularly, as they 
had been accustomed to be fed in Missouri. They were 
satisfied with corn bread, but there must be enough and 



136 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

to spare of that. At her wits' end to know what to do, 
Nancy had sent her eldest negro, a youth of about 
seventeen, Sambo by name, and by nature the wildest 
coon that ever capered, into Tecumseh, to try to ex- 
change a pair of horses for a load of corn. She directed 
him to go to a merchant with whom she had had some 
dealings, and implored the latter to attend to this busi- 
ness for her, as they were starving. Sambo had been 
gone two days, and there was no news of him. Nancy 
began to perceive that she should have gone herself into 
Tecumseh, and not have deputed a negro boy to under- 
take such an important piece of business; but she was 
busy overseeing the cutting up of some logs which had 
to be obtained by dismantling an old log cabin which 
they did not immediately require. It was heavy work, 
which the negroes always shirked unless she was look- 
ing on and lending an occasional hand, and since their 
fuel for the winter was to be obtained that way and no 
other, it was important to keep it going. 

The weather had become exceedingly cold. The 
negroes shrivelled up and were well-nigh useless, so she 
brought them into her own house in order that a single 
fire might suffice to warm them all with the least pos- 
sible expenditure of the precious logs. They had 
passed a long and anxious day, with very little to eat, 
when the snowstorm came on, and poor Nancy's heart 
sank within her. Darkness, and no Sambo and no corn 
— what was she to do ? There was only a very little meal 
left in the bag, scarcely enough to give one whole pone 
to each person, and three pones per diem with plenty of 
milk was the minimum upon which a negro could well 
live. 

The milk, which was scarce, was given to the young- 
est children, and Nancy, declaring she did not feel 
hungry, sat down in a corner of the room, buried her 
face in her hands, and wept. She had meant well, but 



HELP AT NEED 137 

her good intentions seemed all turning to evil. She 
had meant to act a noble part, setting her negroes free 
to begin a fresh life, unbranded by the curse of slavery, 
but all she had done was to bring them from plenty into 
famine and possible death upon the snow-driven prairie. 
Her heart turned longingly back to that cosy home in 
Missouri, and she sobbed aloud. 

" Chile, what yo' pinin' 'bout? " said Aunt Monin's 
voice at her ear. 

" All my life is a failure, and I don't know what to 
do," said Nancy, helplessly raising her tear-dimmed 
eyes to her old nurse's face. The other negroes were 
lying, and squatting, and sitting around the fire in vari- 
ous attitudes of warmth and content. They were talk- 
ing together in low, subdued tones under the awe-in- 
spiring presence of " Miss Nancy," upon whom they 
still looked with a species of distant reverence. 

" Yo' jess put yo' trus' in de Lo'd, my precious 
honey-chile. He comfo't yo' in yer 'fliction." 

" He will not feed us. Aunt ]\Ionin, if we can't get 
corn," was Nancy's melancholy answer. 

" De Lo'd he sen' food out o' de storm, as he sen' 
manna in de wil'erness, ter feed his chillun," said the 
old woman, a sort of religious frenzy lighting up her 
face and making her eyes flame. 

" Jess look yonder at young ole Carlo pup, he done 
scent suthin! " cried one of the young darkies at the 
fire. They all jumped up as the big yellow dog went to 
the door and seemed to listen and sniff under the sill. 

" See dar now! " cried Aunt Monin, with exulta- 
tion. " Dat's Sambo a-comin' home wid de corn. 
Glory, halleluiah! " 

" Open the door and show a light. Get a torch of 
pine wood. It is dark outside," said Nancy. 

They opened the door, and a swirl of snow came in 
through the opening, although it was on the south side, 



138 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

and therefore somewhat sheltered from the full fury of 
the gale. 

" Lordy, oh! " cried one of the darkies, driven back 
in alarm; " dat ar Sambo he git snowed up in de drif." 

" Take the dog out with you and listen," said Nancy, 

" Don't yer go for ter shut de door! " cried the lad 
in an extremity of terror, shaking from head to foot 
from the combined effects of fright and of cold. 

" Yo', Pete, yo' p'ison lazy nigga, yo' come back in 
hyar. I go 'long o' dat dorg an' bring Sambo in. De 
Lo'd done hearn de voice o' de widder an' de orphing," 
said Aunt Monin in a state of extreme exaltation and 
excitement. She was on the point of stepping straight 
out just as she stood in her thin cotton frock, when 
Nancy hastily wrapped her in a huge quilt, head and all, 
merely leaving her eyes uncovered. 

" Don't venture a single step beyond the corner of 
the house," she urged upon the old woman anxiously, as 
the latter left the room. 

The instant the door was opened the dog gave a loud 
sharp bark. 

" Dat Sambo f o' shu'," said Aunt Monin with much 
satisfaction. 

She went to the corner of the house and listened in- 
tently for some minutes, then she went to another cor- 
ner and listened again, bearing her ole head to the 
storm, but all in vain; she could hear nothing save the 
roar of the gale. 

" Lan'! Dish ole nigga can't hear worth a rotten 
corncob. I'se gettin' deef, dat I is, anyhow." 

She was just turning back to the door when a sharp, 
quick sound aroused even her old ears. A pistol shot, 
and not far away either. The dog barked furiously. 
Aunt Monin set up a shrill scream as she ran exultingly 
back to the house. 

" Dar's de help de Lo'd sen' yo'. Miss Nancy, in yer 



HELP AT NEED 139 

trib'lation. He done got to de bars! " she cried ex- 
citedly. " Yo', Pete, an' Moses, jess scoot out an' let 
down de bars so as de wagon 'ull git safe in. We's 
gwine ter 'joice in de 'bundance o' de Ian', an' have hot 
corn cake f o' de supper." 

The dog was growling fiercely, and the negroes with 
shrill screamings and screechings rushed forth with 
flaming pieces of pitch pine in their hands, which they 
snatched from the fire, but which the storm extin- 
guished almost as soon as they got outside. 

" Shut the dog up in my room, Susannah. He might 
frighten the horses by barking and jumping around 
them in the dark." 

Susannah put her arms around the dog's neck and 
took him into Nancy's private room, which opened off 
the kitchen and was reserved to her use, no one but 
Aunt Monin ever being supposed to enter it. Susannah 
was a gentle, vacant-eyed creature, who had never recov- 
ered the shock of her baby's death at Mine Creek. She 
was quite harmless, however, and evinced a doglike 
affection for Nancy. She was not unhappy, for kindly 
Providence in crushing her with a blow had mercifully 
laid the hand of oblivion upon her clouded brain. The 
vacant eye betokened the vacant mind. 

As we have seen, it was not Sambo with a load of 
corn, but the two hard-pressed hunters who came to 
Nancy out of the storm. Although her native kindness 
of heart and the hospitality taught by Western life 
made her receive these unexpected guests with cordial- 
ity, she was in truth grievously disappointed to see them 
instead of Sambo, whose return she was so anxiously 
awaiting. She could give them shelter from the storm, 
but she could not give them food. There was no food 
left, except that mere pittance of cornmeal, and if Sam- 
bo did not come sheer starvation stared her in the face. 
AVhat should she do? She shrank with nervous dread 
10 



140 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

from proclaiming her destitution before these strangers, 
but she knew that sooner or later it would have to come 
out that she had no corn. It came out very soon, for 
Heaton shortly returned to the house in quest of a feed 
of corn for his horses, as his own was in the wagon that 
was stalled in the ploughed furrows. 

In the uncertain light of the flickering fire the 
young man at first thought there was no one but negroes 
in the room when he entered it; then he saw Nancy, 
and, taking off his hat, said: 

" I come as a beggar. Can you give us a feed for our 
horses? " 

" I would gladly, if I had any corn," answered 
Nancy in a sad voice; " but I have none. We were ex- 
pecting the wagon with a load when you came. There 
is some fodder in the loft over the feed troughs. Give 
that to your horses." Heaton thanked her and went 
back to the stable, escorted by the faithful Moses, who 
would have faced any snowstorm that ever blew out of 
Dakota for the honour and excitement of following a 
strange white man around and hearing him talk, with 
the chance of occasionally getting in a word of his own. 

One of the chances now occurred, and Moses made 
the most of it. 

" We hain't got nary ear o' corn f o' ter roas' fo' we 
uns ter eat, mas'r. We done eat de corn 'way from de 
horses a'ready," said he, as soon as they found them- 
selves once more under the shelter of the stable. 

" Good Lord, Eidgway! these poor creatures are 
starving! They haven't a grain of corn for man or 
beast." 

" Jerusalem! " whistled Eidgway; " we can't stir a 
step to-morrow unless these horses are well fed." 

" Oh, confound the horses! " replied Heaton angrily. 
" I tell you the people haven't anything to eat, and 
there's a young girl in the house, too." 



HELP AT NEED 14.1 

" Well, I'm sorry for her, so I am. This ain't no 
place for young girls," answered Eidgway, climbing 
into the loft and reaching down the fodder. Too much 
depended upon his horses for him not to make them as 
comfortable as he possibly could under the circum- 
stances. 

" This loft will be a slap-up place for us to sleep; 
fodder keeps out the cold if you burrow into it," he add- 
ed, always having an eye to the future. 

" Say, you darkies, what's the name of your mas- 
ter? " inquired Heaton. 

" We uns hain't got none, mas'r." 

" That's a fact, anyhow," laughed Eidgway. " This 
is a free State, you know, I wonder at your asking the 
question." 

" I mean who owns the farm? " 

" Miss Xancy, she done buy de Ian'." 

" Isn't there any man about the place? " 

" No, mas'r; on'y we niggas an' Miss Nancy." 

" Land sakes, you don't say so ! " ejaculated Eidgway 
in amazement. 

" Who is the young lady in the house? " 

" Dat ar Miss Nancy," replied the lads in chorus. 

" Lord! and she's not got any corn! " said Heaton, 
putting out his lantern preparatory to opening the 
door. When they did so they found themselves envel- 
oped in a swirl of choking snow dust, but the house was 
not far, and, guided by its glimmering light, they rushed 
across the yard. 

" This is my companion — Eidgway," said Heaton, 
undertaking the duties of introduction, since he had 
already been in the house and seen its youthful mistress. 
" My name is Heaton, and we are bulfalo hunters." 

Then, of course, followed an account of the even- 
ing's disasters which had led them to Nancy's door. 
" It was the greatest good luck I ever had," said 



142 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Heaton. " To think of your dog being let out just in 
time to bark at my pistol shot! " 

" Young man/' said Aunt Monin impressively, 
" 'twarn't on'y luck what d'rect' yo' ter dish house. 
It was de han' o' de Lo'd sen' yo' hyar ter save yo'." 

" Well, granny, you are right, anyhow, in saying it 
was the saving of us," assented Heaton readily. " We'd 
have stood a poor chance of walking if we'd been obliged 
to sleep on the open prairie on such a night as this." 

" De han' o' de Lo'd d'rect' yo' ter dish house f er ter 
save yo', body an' soul," said Aunt Monin, looking far 
away over his head and speaking in a strain of exalted 
enthusiasm. 

Eidgway gave a short laugh, Heaton was non- 
plussed, and Nancy felt a little ashamed. 

" She is sometimes a little strange in her language," 
she said apologetically to the young men. " She was 
much excited by the storm, and was just predicting help 
when you came up." 

Whenever Nancy spoke to Heaton Aunt Monin 
watched the pair with a curious gaze, looking intently 
from one to the other as if she expected something more 
remarkable than polite interchange of news between 
total strangers. 

" We are not much help, I fear," said Heaton hur- 
riedly, in answer to Nancy's observation, " only an 
added burden, but to-morrov/ we shall be able to get 
our wagon and " 

"Any carpenters hereabouts?" burst in Ridgway 
hastily, evidently with a desire to stop Heaton from 
saying anything as to what their wagons contained. He 
knew that if the negroes were hungry, and aware that 
there was meat around, they would get it. Although 
sorry for anybody who might be suffering from hunger, 
he had no notion of giving a fortnight's desperate hard 
work in order to feed a parcel of niggers who were notli- 



HELP AT NEED 143 

ing to him. There were plenty of hungry people in the 
world. It was not his business to look after them, but 
to look out for the interests of John P. Kidgway. All 
of which was very sound individualism, no doubt, and 
perhaps not bad philosophy. 

" No, there is no carpenter nearer than Tecumseh, 
which is seven miles away," replied Nancy. 

" Maybe we can fix it up ourselves to hold out until 
we get into a town. We've got a broken pole, you know, 
and the wagon is stuck fast till it is mended." 

" I've a few pieces of timber; if you can mend it 
with them you are welcome," said Nancy. 

" Ain't you got no men folks about the farm? " 
asked Ridgway, full of curiosity. 

"No; I am the only white person here," she said 
with a sweep of her hand, indicating the negroes, who 
had formed a circle a little outside when the " white 
gen'lemen " came in and sat down by the fire. These 
darkies were of course immensely interested at the ar- 
rival of two white folks, but inborn curiosity could 
hardly account for the way in which some of the elder 
ones stared at Heaton and made signs to one another 
as they stared. 

" Lord! how do you work the farm? They don't do 
work worth much," said Eidgway, much amazed at 
Nancy's answer. " Didn't you raise any corn? " 

" I have only just bought this place. In fact, I have 
only just come," said she, with some hesitation of man- 
ner. " They were my slaves in Missouri, and I brought 
them into Kansas to be free." 

" Phew! " whistled Ridg^-ay. 

" You did a noble, generous act," burst ou^. Hea- 
ton. " It is splendid to hear of a person doing such a 
thing! " 

Nancy blushed up to her forehead, and the firelight 
danced on her face glowing with the sudden rosy hue. 



144 THE JAY-BAWKERS 

It was the first word of commendation slie had ever 
received for what slie had done, and her blood beat with 
a quicker pulse in her veins. It is pleasant to be 
praised, and all the more when the praise comes in an 
unlooked-for way. 

" Most folks thought I was a fool," she said with 
some embarrassment. 

" People are so absorbed in their own mean lives 
they can't understand a grand action like that," said 
Heaton with enthusiasm. 

" How'll you feed 'em this winter? " asked Eidgway, 
and his question was like a cold douche upon Nancy's 
glowing pleasure at Heaton's praise. 

" I don't know," she stanunered; " I'm trying to sell 
some horses in Tecumseh. I brought six horses and 
three wagons out of Missouri. They ought to fetch a 
good price. They are good strong horses." 

" How much do you want for them? " inquired 
Eidgway, with an eye to business. 

" I don't know," replied Nancy simply. " I told the 
negro to get as much corn as he could for them in ex- 
change. We must have something to eat, even if the 
horses have to be sold at a sacrifice." 

"When did you send him?" next inquired Eidg- 
way. 

" Day before yesterday." 

"And he ain't back?" 

" No." 

" Then he's skedaddled with your horses, an' you 
won't see him again, I guess," said Eidgway in a tone 
of conviction. 

" Oh, don't say that! " burst out Nancy with uncon- 
trollable anguish. "We are left without horses, or 
food, or anything if he doesn't come back." She sobbed 
aloud. 

" Don't distress yourself so," said Heaton earnestly. 



HELP AT NEED 145 

" I've got a wagon load of sound meat not a quarter of a 
mile from here, and you shall have it to-morrow, half an 
hour after sunrise." 

" I didn't mean to break down like that. I have no 
right to bring my troubles forward," said Nancy with 
her chin quivering convulsively; " only you frightened 
me by saying Sambo wouldn't come back." She turned 
toward Eidgway and smiled a tearful smile. 

" 'Twill be all right. Don't you take on," said that 
energetic young man cheerfully. " Guess I'll ride in to 
Tecumseh first thing in the morning, an' sorter look up 
Sambo an' persuade him to come back with his load of 
corn. Niggers can mostly be persuaded with a cowhide 
whip or a pistol bullet, if obstinate." 

He was sorry for her in her helplessness, and if a 
little work on his part could make her comfortable he 
would give it ungrudgingly, but he wasn't such a " natu- 
ral-born idiot " as to give his meat for nothing, like that 
" darned fool " Heaton. 

At this moment the door of the inner room opened 
and Susannah with the yellow dog came out. The dog 
went up to the strangers to smell at their legs, but the 
moment Susannah caught sight of them in the flicker- 
ing light she gave a wild screech, and fell upon her 
knees in a paroxysm of weeping and praying. 

" What ails the woman? " said Eidgway. 

" She is not right in her mind since she lost her 
baby. Don't notice her," said Nancy. And then, turn- 
ing to the old negress, she said somewhat sharply: 
" Aunt Monin, take her to the loft. — And you young 
darkies go too." She was annoyed to think that these 
strange men should see all the defects of her household 
at the first moment. 

They all left the room and went out to their cabins 
to sleep, but Susannah's cries could be heard above the 
storm for some minutes. 



14:6 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

The two young men also went off to their sleeping 
place over the stable among the cornshucks. 

" Wal, I'll bust, but it's the maddest house I ever 
saw," remarked Ridgway, as he lay down and dragged 
around him a thick quilt which Aunt Monin had sup- 
plied. 

" She's the finest girl ever I saw. To think of her 
freeing her slaves like that! " said Heaton. 

" And bringing them here in the dead of winter to 
starve," grunted Ridgway. 

" They sha'n't starve," said Heaton; " I swear 
that! " 



CHAPTER XIII 

eidgway's diplomacy 

The sun rose bright and clear over tlie storm-driven 
prairie. The wind had sported with the snow and built 
it into a thousand curious forms. Frozen ripples, as if 
a sea had been stayed in its course, flowed over broad 
flat fields; high piled ridges, with a regular cutting arete 
on the sheltered side, had ranged themselves on the 
edges of the hollows into immature Alps; while deep 
drifts of finest snow, hard frozen into a compact mass, 
filled the hollows themselves. Again, the wind had or- 
dered that certain places should be bare, and these were 
denuded of every speck of snow as if carefully swept by 
a myriad brooms. The fences, fortified by long-drawn 
breastworks thrown up by the snow, presented a for- 
midable appearance, with the stakes and riders showing 
above the rest of the rails and sticking out like so many 
black rifles from amid the dazzling white defences. 
Snow, even if helped by a Dakota gale, is, however, 
somewhat at a disadvantage on the open prairie. It can 
not build as freely and as fantastically as when it gets 
into a land of bush and brake, of blufi' and crag, against 
which to pile up its erections. Still, it did the best it 
could under the circumstances, and failed not to seize 
every available opportunity. Thus the wagon of meat 
which was stuck in the furrow land was a fine piece of 
good luck. So the wind-driven snow played about that 
wagon, burying first one wheel and then another, and 

147 



148 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

then scooping up with violent gusts all the snow thus 
collected and depositing it on the lee side. This seemed 
so fine a notion that all during that wild night the snow 
went on piling and building around the stalled wagon, 
until in the morning a vast, shapeless edifice caught the 
rays of the rising sun and threw back a thousand tinted 
sparkles from its glittering walls. As it sported with 
the wagon, so it dallied with the house, huts, and stalls 
of Carthage, building, altering, and moulding to suit 
its wayward fancy, until that little hamlet looked like a 
collection of enormous white ant-hills, out of which 
stuck black chimneys, with here and there a forgotten 
peephole of a window which the snow in its wild hurry 
had omitted to plaster up. 

Into this new and fantastic world the two young 
hunters looked with many a grunt of dissatisfaction 
when next morning they arose out of their bed of corn- 
shucks. The grotesque aspect of the house door, buried 
nearly to its lintel in snow, did not appeal to their aes- 
thetic sense, but the fact that the door had to be dug 
out, and that probably by themselves, appealed very 
strongly to their physical senses by suggesting the 
amount of muscular effort that was now required of 
them. Fortunately, the stable door faced the north- 
west, and consequently was one of those spots which 
the gale had concluded to sweep clean. So the two 
men were quickly abroad and as quickly at work. 
Pete and Moses showed them where the shovels were 
kept and then stood shiveringly by to see the white 
men work, as with a measured scrape, scrunch, and 
swing they began to clear a path to the blocked door- 
way. 

Nancy, too, heard the sound, so strong and so steady, 
and so uninterrupted, and a feeling of hope and trust- 
fulness filled her heart. Here were white men on 
whom she could rely. They were not like those poor 



RIDGWAY'S DIPLOMACY 149 

helpless negroes who never had any advice or assistance 
to offer, but only leaned upon her, depending upon her 
for everything, until the burden had become almost too 
great for her to bear, 

Heaton fairly shovelled himself into the kitchen, 
and was the first to greet Nancy with a cheerful " Good 
morning." It was the first time he had seen her in 
clear light, so that he could really get a good look at her 
and he thought he had never seen a sweeter face. She 
was not the rosy-cheeked, saucy girl we saw in the sun- 
light of that October day not long passed. She was now 
a serious pale woman, with, nevertheless, a most touch- 
ing look of girlishness transfiguring her whole aspect. 
Sorrow and anxiety had paled her once plump cheek, 
and all the tears she had shed had taken some of the fire 
out of her eyes, but she was none the less beautiful for 
that. The defiant sparkle of her glance was indeed 
gone, but an added touch of seriousness had made her 
face more attractive than ever. Heaton was fascinated 
with it. 

" I've come to say I'm going for the meat now," he 
remarked brightly. " Now then, granny, put the ket- 
tle on, and we'll all have breakfast." 

Aunt Monin was looking at him intently, as if ab- 
sorbed in her own thoughts. She started when he ad- 
dressed her, and said quickly: 

" Yes, mas'r, I'se gwine ter cook de breakfast dish 
hyar bressed minute, I is." 

" That's right. I'll go now for the meat and corn- 
meal." 

Heaton left the kitchen, and Nancy looked after him 
with admiration, so full was he of life, energy, and re- 
source. It was a comfort to be taken care of by this 
capable man, even though only for a single day, and he * 
a stranger. Aunt Monin was watching Nancy with 
curious intentness for the moment or two that they were 



150 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

face to face, and when the young man had left the 
kitchen she said: 

" Chile, yo' 'inemher how Aunt ]\Ionin prophesy de 
Lo'd sen' help ter yo' outer de storm an' de snow an' de 
win'? Yo' see he done it, chile. Now Aunt Monin 
raise up her voice an' speak 'gain. Don't yer go for ter 
fly in de face o' Prov'dence an' rejec' de niin'strations o' 
de Lo'd. Be meek an' lowly, an' 'member de ways o' de 
Lo'd ain't like white folks' ways. He 'venge himself in 
his own way jess when de due time is 'complished. 
'Member dat, honey-chile." 

Nancy was so accustomed to Aunt Monin's holding 
forth in her own mystical semibiblical language that 
she frequently gave her but a listless attention. She 
saw no reason why more importance than usual should 
be attached to her words this morning. They went in 
at one ear and out at the other, and were clean forgotten 
long before Heaton got back through the snowdrifts 
with his load of food. 

Soon there arose a most savoury smell of juicy meat 
frying and frizzling over the fire, mixed with the aro- 
matic odour of coffee. Aunt Monin was in her glory 
again. She turned the meat and sprinkled just a hint 
of pepper over it, she set the coffee to drain, and 
she mixed up a dozen pones and popped them into the 
clean glowing ashes to bake, and all this she did and 
yet kept the circle of hungry negroes in order and at 
Avork. 

" Yo', Pete, pull dat smokin' log outer de fire. Dat 
spile my bes' pones an' make 'em smoky, so de white 
folks can't eat 'em. White folks ain't like niggas, as 
can eat ary sort o' corn bread. Yo', M'linder da, wha' 
fo' yo' starin' at de white gen'lemcn like yo' moon- 
struck? Set de table. Git de bes' white linen table- 
clof. Spry now, else I'll whack yer brains out wid disli 
hyar log o' wood. Lize Jane, reach down de chiny 



RIDGWAY'S DIPLOMACY . 151 

cups. White gen'lemen don't drink coffee outer tin 
mugs, yo' ignunt black nigga. Whar yo' riz? " 

And so on and so forth, with an eye upon every one 
and a threat for most. Tlie unemployed negro children 
were made to sit motionless, so as not to " 'sturb de 
white folks." Eidg-way had fed the horses while Aunt 
Monin was seeing about the breakfast, and he now 
joined the expectant throng in the kitchen, stamping 
the snow off his big boots and coming into the room like 
a bit of a northwester himself. 

" Well, that do sniff good, granny," he observed, 
coming up to the fire. " Breakfast time 'most ready, 
eh?" 

" Yes, mas'r, I'se done cooked ebbryt'ing," said 
Aunt Monin, glowing with pride at having once more 
good victuals upon which to expend her culinary skill. 

Nancy and her two guests sat down to the table. 
The negroes eyed them longingly, and M'linder evinced 
a tendency to sit down too, only Aunt Monin's eagle eye 
was upon her in an instant. 

" Yo' m'lasses-face nigga, whar yo' gwine? " she ex- 
claimed with wrath. " What fo' yo' don't wait on de 
white folks? Yo' done clean forgot yer manners. 
M'linder, I 'shamed o' yo', I is! " 

M'linder slunk away abashed, and with a sweep that 
would have done credit to a London butler Aunt Monin 
handed a dish of smoking steak to Nancy, saying: 
" Miss Nancy, will yo' have some o' dish hyar steak, or 
maybe yo' 'fer ter wait for de stew? " 

Nancy smiled, and the white folks helped them- 
selves abundantly. 

"Won't you give some to those hungry little 
devils? " said Heaton, nodding toward the silent row of 
little niggers, who were watching every mouthful. 
" They look as though they could eat us with their 
eyes." 



152 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" Yo' niggas/' exclaimed the ever-vigilant Aunt 
Monin, " what fo' yo' gapin' like dat? Turn roun' eb- 
bery last one o' yo', an' face de wall. Don't yo' go fer 
ter look roun' now, else I'll slit yer tongues out an' fry 
'em 'thout a grain o' salt." 

This complicated threat overawed the little darkies, 
who turned their backs upon the too tempting scene, 
and were perforce content to imbibe delight by means 
only of their sense of smell. When they were not look- 
ing Aunt Monin dug out of the hot ashes her heap of 
pones and hoecakes, skilfully blew off the flakes of 
white ash, and piled them upon a wooden trencher. 
She next poured the stewed meat into a great tin basin 
and gave it to M'linder. Lize Jane took the smoking 
bread. 

" Now pike," said Aunt Monin with a magisterial 
wave of her long arm. " Don't yo' show yer black 
faces hyar 'gain dish mo'nin'." 

The little darkies fled out after the two women and 
the smoking food to devour it in their own cabin beside 
the house. Aunt Monin sat down with a sigh of relief. 

" Dem black niggas ain't fit fer white folks ter sit 
wid," she observed scornfully, apparently quite oblivi- 
ous of the fact that her own face was as black as black 
could be. 

" Come along, granny, and eat something yourself 
now. You've earned it, anyhow," said Eidgway, mo- 
tioning her to a chair near Nancy's. 

Aunt Monin drew herself up with offended dignity. 

" I ain't like dey ignunt niggas out dar. I'se bin 
allers in good famblies outer ole Virginny. I don't neb- 
ber sit down 'long o' white gen'lemen an' Miss Nancy. 
I allers wait on Miss Nancy, mas'r." 

" And you couldn't do a wiser and better thing," 
said Heaton, seeing his young hostess look a little em- 
barrassed. 



RIDGWAY'S DIPLOMACY 153 

Much to Eidgway's disgust he found upon examina- 
tion that the drifts were absolutely impassable between 
Carthage and the creek, so that he was obliged to run 
the risk of letting his wagon stand out another day all 
by itself on the road up from the bottom land. Com- 
forting himself with the reflection that probably no one 
would be abroad on that road, he and Heaton devoted 
their horses and their energies to bringing up to the 
house the wagon which they had abandoned the night 
before. This was a job of some difficulty, as several 
drifts had to be cut through, and those young imps of 
darkness Pete and Moses had to work in a way they 
never dreamed of before. When the wagon was at 
length brought alongside of the house they were not 
even then permitted to rest, but were set to chopping 
wood by their relentless taskmasters, who sawed and 
split wood with ceaseless energy and diligence them- 
selves. Night brought them repose at last, and the 
weary Pete, lying down in his cornshucks beside the 
exhausted Moses, remarked, as he pulled his warm quilt 
up level with his eyes: 

" Dey white folks when dey got free niggas dey 
work 'em powerful heavy. Golly, I nebber seed ole 
mas'r drive de niggas so hard as dish hyar free mas'r 
done! " 

" Hope he'll break his ole neck tryin' f o' ter bu'st de 
wagon fru de snowdrif," said Moses, aching in every 
limb and revengefully inclined. 

The next morning, before the break of day, to the 
disgusted surprise of the lazy negroes, those two inde- 
fatigable white men were up feeding and cleaning their 
horses, and were actually whistling at their work, too. 
Pete and ]\Ioses rolled reluctantly out from their corn- 
shucks, for Eidgway came and stirred them firmly with 
the toe of his heavy jack boot. 

" Now then, you darkies, just scuttle round. It's 



154 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

'most daylight now, an we've a heap to do before sun- 
down this day, you bet." 

They yawned, tliey groaned, they shivered in dis- 
gust, but they had to turn out, nevertheless, before the 
orders of that inexorable white man. Hit or miss, 
Eidgway determined to bring his wagon into safety be- 
fore night fell. So after a hurried breakfast they set 
off with all four horses and such tools and implements 
as they thought necessary in order to cut the wagon 
out and mend the pole. Moses and Pete shovelled out 
drifts and laboured fiercely under the eye of Kidgway, 
while Heaton, who was very handy with tools, fixed up 
the pole and fastened trace chains to the body of the 
wagon so that the pull of the leading horses might be 
brought to bear. It was late at night before the creak- 
ing vehicle came groaning and labouring up to the 
house, and Moses and Pete declared many times that 
they would " a heap sight sooner be slaves down in ole 
Missouri than free niggas in Kansas." 

It was with feelings of keen delight that the young 
men looked forward to spending the evening with 
Nancy after the hard day's work in the snowdrifts. 
The thought of the cheerful kitchen with its bright fire 
blazing on the hearth was not more alluring to them 
than was the picture of the pretty young girl who wovild 
be there to receive and welcome them. Women did not 
abound on the prairies in the old days. Many cabins 
were tenanted only by men, and personal discomfort, 
always abundant in a settler's home, simply raged un- 
checked in the masculine abode. It is a singular fact 
that, whereas men are very fond of their comfort and 
are determined to obtain it at all hazards and regardless 
of expense in civilization — witness the surpassing com- 
forts of the London Club — when it falls upon them to 
work out their own notions of comfort with their own 
hands they usually evince a most helpless inefficiency. 



RIDGWAY'S DIPLOMACY 155 

They do without things and put up with defects that 
under other circumstances would provoke a storm of 
protest. Again, men are strangely devoid of a sense 
of proportion in matters of housekeeping, and show a 
quaint disinclination to doing the smallest and lightest 
housework, even if it is for their own immediate and 
personal convenience. Thus, I have known a man grow 
peas in his garden — digging the ground, making the 
drills, sowing the seed, earthing up the young plants, 
staking them when older, down to picking and shelling 
the pods, all with due labour and care — and yet finally 
fail ignominiously in providing himself with a whole- 
some dish, simply because he would not take the trouble 
to boil the peas, but preferred to eat them raw instead. 

Now Heaton had been doing his own housework 
entirely since he came to Kansas; that is to say, he had 
made his own corn bread — very badly oftentimes — and 
had boiled his own bacon and beans — far too little to 
be tasty — for a good many months now, and Eidgway, 
though a much better and more painstaking cook, had 
got thoroughly sick of his own cuisine. What an amaz- 
ing piece of good luck it was to find themselves sur- 
rounded by a womanly household, the kitchen tidy and 
warm, the supper ready and cooked, when they got 
in at night! This was simple bliss to men who had 
been used to finding their house cold and dark when 
they came home, and upon whose tired minds and 
bodies the thought of the preparation of supper fell like 
an additional load when they remembered that it meant 
first getting the wood and then lighting the fire before 
they could even think of mixing the meal and water for 
their corn bread. And then there was Nancy. Could 
mortals want more in the way of enjoyment as they sat 
round the fire, stretching their limbs before the welcome 
blaze, than to hear her silver laughter and to watch her 
bright face changing with every moment as thoughts 
11 



156 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

and pleasant fancies flitted across her mind in obedience 
to the images called up by the genial chatter. If they 
had one wish unfulfilled it was only until Nancy assured 
them that she did not mind their smoking, and, in fact, 
expected them to light their pipes, whereupon Aunt 
Monin poked a lot of clear burning embers from imder 
the logs and told them to " set fire/' 

To those accustomed to the more cumbrous and dila- 
tory methods of civilization it may seem strange that 
Nancy should have become so friendly with two utter 
strangers in so short a space of time. Life on the 
prairie is freed from the trammels and trappings of 
convention. The people are simple, their ways are 
primitive, and they quickly form ties of friendship, not 
waiting until a thousand and one formalities have been 
completed, as is the case in the more complex relations 
of older communities. 

If the young men looked forward with delight to 
spending the evening with Nancy, she on her side ex- 
perienced a feeling of pleasurable excitement in expect- 
ing them. The day now held something new for her, 
and she brightened up both physically and mentally. 
Nancy had lived too much alone, cut off from the stimu- 
lus of outside opinion. Public opinion did not exist 
among the slaves, at least not in a way to make itself 
felt. She lacked this most needful stimulus, without 
which no human being can put forth his best exertions. 
She had lived entirely alone since her father's death, 
and was drawing upon the ever lessening reserve of her 
own innate energy, and she had already become con- 
scious of what an exhausting process this was. These 
young men from the outside world brought a fresh train 
of thoughts into her mind and created new motives of 
action. Vanity, I trust, will not be laid to Nancy's 
charge when it is found that one of the first outward 
and manifest signs of this reawakening interest in life 



RIDGWAY'S DIPLOMACY 157 

was a desire to improve her personal appearance. She 
put on a fresh frock for the evening and twisted her 
abundant black hair into a most becoming knot at the 
back of her shapely head, and twice put on and twice 
took off a tiny coral spray before she could make up her 
mind on which side of her hair it looked best. 

All this while Sambo had not appeared, nor of course 
had the load of corn so ardently expected from Tecum- 
seh. On the third morning the snow began to show 
signs of giving way before the combined effect of an 
abundance of sunshine and an absence of wind. Eidg- 
way thought he might be able to push through to Te- 
cumseh, as the roads would in all probability be some- 
what more open near the town. Accordingly, after hav- 
ing consulted with Heaton and carefully examined his 
firearms, he mounted his horse and rode off. He carried 
his companion's breech-loading carbine slung over his 
shoulder. When Nancy inquired the object of all these 
warlike preparations, he replied that he had lived in 
Kansas a good spell now, and he had always found a 
first-class revolver mortal handy in any argument he 
might have if folks was downright obstinate. 

Xancy looked scared and said: " Oh please, I'd rather 
never get the horses or the corn or anything, if it means 
some one is to be killed." 

" Bless you, I ain't goin' to kill anybody," replied 
Eidgway confidently. " I'm only taking these tools 
along so as to make folks kinder reasonable." He rode 
off with a pleasant smile and nod, leaving Nancy with 
her heart full of dread and anxiety. 

"Do you think he is a man of peace?" she asked 
of Heaton, who was sawing up wood. 

" Well, I can't say that it is against his principles 
to use firearms. He isn't a nonresistant, you know, but 
he isn't one bit quarrelsome. I can answer for that; I 
know him well," replied the young man reassuringly. 



158 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" There is nothing so dreadful as for people to rush 
into desperate measures, even to redress a wrong," said 
Nancy with an expression of pain on her face. 

" That's very true," said Heaton earnestly. 

" Don't you think Kansas men are very quick to re- 
sort to desperate methods?" asked Nancy, halancing 
herself on a log of wood so as to keep out of the slushy 
snow. He was at work on the sheltered side of the 
house, where the sun was already making successful in- 
roads on the snow. 

" Sometimes they find themselves in desperate 
straits," replied Heaton, who found this a painful sub- 
ject. " People's motives can't always be safely judged 
by their actions in cases of emergency." 

" 1 suppose so. I used to feel differently about it. 
But I have changed," said Nancy thoughtfully. 

" And so have I," assented Heaton with considerable 
warmth of feeling. " I don't feel at all about this 
border war as I did when I first came out." 

"Oh, it is dreadful, dreadful!" said Nancy with a 
shudder. " You don't know what it is like with those 
terrible raids into Missouri. I have known such awful 
deeds done." 

" So have I," said Heaton, " on both sides of the 
border. War is a grim pastime, Miss Nancy, and equally 
hideous whichever side you look at it." 

Nancy looked doubtfully at him for a moment in 
silence. 

"How do you think it will end?" she asked. 

" Heaven only knows. Nations must atone for their 
sins even as individuals do." 

" If we only can be spared from war and the shed- 
ding of blood. That seems to me too terrible even to 
contemplate." 

" It could be done if there were many like you in 
the South — a slave owner bringing her slaves into free- 



RIDGWAY'S DIPLOMACY 159 

dom of her own free will and generosity," said the 
young man, looking at her, his eyes bright with admi- 
ration. 

" Hush," said Nancy hurriedly, " don't speak of it 
like that; it was an atonement." 

An atonement! Heaton wondered for what. But 
he dared not question her further — it was manifestly a 
painful subject — so he took up his saw again, and Nancy 
went back into the house. 

Meanwhile Ridgway was " bu'stin' fru de drif's," as 
Pete expressed it, a slow and exhausting operation that 
fatigued both man and horse. It was the middle of 
the afternoon before he at last rode into Tecmnseh, and 
after some little time, acting upon Nancy's instructions, 
he proceeded to Woodhouse's store, where she expected 
he would get news of her man Sambo and learn the re- 
sult of his mission. So far he had followed Nancy's 
orders, but from the moment he got into the store he 
pursued a line of action of his own devising, very far 
removed from the gentle expressions of anxiety with 
which she, poor girl, had charged him. 

There were several men lounging in the store when 
Eidgway slouched in, pistol, carbine, and all, his hat well 
on one side, and a huge cigar in his mouth. 

" Guess you'll be ole man Woodhouse," he observed, 
with a total absence of his usual modes of expression 
and putting on a most formidable drawl. 
• "Yes, stranger, that's my name," answered the 
storekeeper with the professional alacrity of his tribe. 

Ridgway made no reply, but sat down on a barrel of 
sugar and smoked away in complete silence. The men 
eyed him with considerable interest and evident curi- 
osity. After a length of time he said, apparently ad- 
dressing a coil of rope that hung from the rafters: 

"Why hain't you bought Nancy Overton's horses? 
What's tiae matter with them? Ain't they sound?" 



160 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" I ain't agoin' to say as ther's ary thing the matter 
with them," replied Woodhouse in a nettled manner. 

•' Then you have bought 'em," said Eidgway quickly, 
withdrawing his eyes from the coil of rope and suddenly 
facing the storekeeper with a steady stare. 

" No, I haven't," said Woodhouse angrily, thinking 
that the young man was in some way trying to trap him 
into committing himself too soon. 

" Glad to hear you say so," drawled Eidgway. " I 
have." 

Woodhouse actually gasped with surprise. 

" This ain't fair, stranger," he spluttered. " Them 
horses is in my stable, an' I'm agoin' to keep 'em." 

Eidgway sprang to his feet and slung the carbine 
off his shoulder in a twinkling. 

" You're going to keep 'em, by thunder, after I tell 
you I've bought 'em! I'd like to see you do it. I come 
here straight and all on the square and ask you if you've 
bought them horses, and you tell me here before these 
witnesses you hain't bought 'em. Then I tell you I 
have, and you say you'll keep 'em anyhow. I ain't a 
smooth man to argue with, leastways 'bout horses which 
I've been an' bought. No, by gosh, I ain't smooth. My 
name's John P. Eidgway, of Lawrence, and most folks 
know that name all the way from Kansas City to the 
Pottawatomi reservation." 

The stir that the announcement of his name had 
created bore evidence to the truth of the boast. Most 
people did know the name as belonging to a young man 
who had won for himself a reputation for cool bravery 
and daring where such reputations were not to be earned 
without deeds to match. 

Woodhouse backed down visibly. " I ain't agoin' to 
spile your bargain," he said with a feeble smile. 

" Knew you wouldn't, stranger," said Eidgway affa- 
bly, " jest as soon as you learned you had a regular 



RIDGWAY'S DIPLOMACY 161 

downright Kansas man to deal with. Guess I'll go 
'long and have a look at that team now. Got ary lan- 
tern to lend me? " 

Woodhouse was only too anxious to be rid of his 
formidable guest, so he offered to come himself and show 
him where the horses were stabled. So the pair went off' 
together in much outward show of amity, and in a few 
minutes Ridgway emerged from Woodliouse's stable 
leading the two teams of horses himself, for, as he re- 
marked, it would be sorter unhandy for him not to have 
them along with his own nag where he was stopping. 
He chuckled to himself several times as he strode 
through the snowy road of Tecumseh, remarking, " he 
was 'most skeered out of his skin, the darned white- 
livered prairie dog." 



CHAPTEE XIV 

THE HIKED MAN 

EiDGWAY returned triumphant next day with the 
wagon, a load of corn, and the two teams of horses be- 
sides. He had bought the load of corn, he and Heaton 
jointly raising the money, which they were able to do 
on the security of their buifalo hides. Both Eidgway 
and Heaton were known in Tecumseh to be honest men, 
and their credit consequently was good. Sambo of 
course returned also, for he had at once appeared on the 
surface the moment that Eidgway had got hold of the 
horses. He was in deep tribulation, and expressed much 
concern for Miss Nancy, left without any food by reason 
of the dawdling of the storekeeper, who would neither 
say " yes " nor " no " about the horses, nor give him 
a load of corn, nor allow him to take the animals else- 
where. Poor Sambo was at his wits' end to know what 
to do. 

When Nancy saw both the load of corn and her two 
pairs of horses her heart thumped with terror. She fled 
out hurriedly to the bars, and with white face ran up 
to Eidgway. 

" How is it you've got them both? " she asked anx- 
iously. 

" It's all right," replied the young man genially. 
" He didn't want the horses and we've bought the corn. 
My mate and me'll want some of it, and you can take 
the rest." 

162 



THE HIRED MAN 163 

" Did you kill him? " said Nancy, her lips twitching 
so that she was hardly able to articulate. 

"Lord, no! What do you take us for? Tigers? 
Kansas men ain't always sighting down on a man and 
killing him." 

Eidgway spoke with a certain abruptness of manner, 
showing that he was somewhat offended at the extremely 
low opinion his hostess held of Kansas men. 

" Oh, I'm so glad! " exclaimed Nancy with a sigh of 
relief. "I couldn't guess how you had managed, and 
you know you did take your gun and pistol," she added 
apologetically, as if there was some excuse for her femi- 
nine alarms. 

" I always take my arms along," replied the young 
man, " 'cause I've found them often useful in making 
people civil and quick to understand my arguments — 
sorter brightens up their intellects a bit. But I hain't 
never shot a man without he drove me to it first." 

" Yes, yes, I know," she replied, clasping her hands 
nervously together; " but it comes to that so quick some- 
times." 

" Well, you needn't take on this time anyhow; I 
hain't fired a shot since I rode off yesterday." 

The two young buffalo hunters stayed nearly a week 
at Carthage, at the end of Avhich time the roads were 
open enough for traffic to begin once more, the pole was 
mended, and Eidgway began to get restless. 

" I guess we'd better be starting pretty quick now, or 
else that buffalo meat of ours'll go to fatten these here 
niggers," he remarked to Heaton, after they had fod- 
dered their horses one night and were standing at the 
stable door. " There's bound to be a spell of wet 
weather soon now, and this snow'll melt, and then the 
creeks 'ull be over their banks, and we won't get a pound 
of our meat into Lawrence. I say, let's start before 
simup to-morrow." 



164 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" Well," remarked Heaton with a certain hesitation 
of manner, " I was not thinking of starting just yet." 

" I tell you that meat won't stand a thaw. It'll go 
bad before we can unload, if we don't mind." 

" I guess I'll unload here," said Heaton. 

Eidgway whistled. 

" Has she bought your load ? What did she give you 
for it?" 

" No, she didn't buy the load. I gave it to her, and 
I've promised to stay and see her crop in, as hired man." 

" Jerusalem! " was all Eidgway said, and then he 
laughed out loud, and Heaton felt inclined to be angry 
with him. 

It was quite true, however. Heaton had decided 
to remain and work the farm for Nancy, to be paid 
eventually by having half the proceeds of the crops. She 
was too ignorant of the details of farming to realize in 
its entirety what a good bargain she had made, but a 
load of anxiety was thereby lifted from her shoulders, 
and she experienced a corresponding sense of relief. She 
and Heaton had settled this little matter on the day 
when Eidgway had gone off to the blacksmith's to get 
the irons put on his new wagon pole. They had looked 
over the farm land together, and the young man had 
rapidly explained to her what he considered would be 
the best course for her to adopt with regard to the en- 
suing year. In the first place she should fence in a 
bit of her pasture land in order to keep one horse always 
within reach, so as to be able to catch the others with 
the least possible loss of time; half a day's precious work- 
ing hours were often lost by men who had to hunt their 
horses on foot. Nancy listened with deep interest to 
all he had to tell her, and then she confided in him how 
she feared the negroes could never be made to work 
hard without being driven to it, and how she would 
not resort to severe measures with them, because she 



THE HIRED MAN 165 

could not help feeling that she owed them reparation 
and must always treat them tenderly. Then he again 
expressed his admiration for what she had done, saying 
it was an act of atonement for the wrongdoing of others 
that could not fail to turn into a great success. He was 
cordial, he was enthusiastic, and finally he ended by 
ofEering to stay for half a year and see her through the 
worst part of the season, so that her grand experiment 
might have a fair start. The proposition was very sud- 
den, and Nancy did not reply for a few moments while 
she was thinking it over. Heaton's heart stood still with 
apprehension for fear she might say " no," hut she did 
not. She said " yes," and then Heaton thanked her 
warmly for permitting him to become in a measure asso- 
ciated with her act of generosity for the benefit of the 
negroes, adding that he had come to Kansas burning 
with a desire to do something for them, and to help to 
right the wrong, but as yet he had not seen his way to 
doing any good. 

So Heaton remained as " hired man " to Nancy 
Overton, and Eidgway drove off alone with his wagon 
load of buffalo meat. When he reached the corner of 
the farm he stopped and looked about him very care- 
fully, and then with a chuckle he remarked: 

" One hundred and sixty acres of good upland 
prairie, a sound frame house, a log stable, three nigger 
cabins, two wagons and four horses, and a pretty wife 
ain't a bad price to get for one load of buffalo meat. 
Charlie Heaton ain't the blamed coon I thought he was. 
Wonder if I'll get half as good a price for my load? " 

Life at Carthage was a very different thing after 
Heaton became the " hired man " from what it had been 
before. Energy and hopefulness seemed to infuse and 
inspire everybody and everything. As the ground was 
still covered with snow it was impossible to do any farm 
work, and the negroes naturally expected that they 



166 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

would be allowed to huddle over the fire in an attitude 
of expectancy for the summer sunshine. The idea of 
setting out to work in the snow seemed to them pre- 
posterous. Heaton Avas born in the mountains of north- 
ern Vermont, where the snow lasts at least five months 
in the year; therefore he took it as a matter of course. 
His mind and body were both braced to it by hereditary 
sturdiness and constant exposure. 

" We'll be able to split enough rails for the pasture 
fence, if this snow lasts," he remarked to Nancy as they 
Avere sitting together at supper. " I'll take Sambo and 
we'll begin to-morroAV." 

Nancy owned an acre of bottom land Avell grown 
Avith trees, and these Heaton decided to cut down and 
split into rails. Splitting rails is almost the hardest 
work that ever falls to a farmer to do. Horses can not 
help. The entire work has to be performed by man, 
from the laborious cutting down of the tree to the driv- 
ing in of the wedges into the sawn lengths, until Avith 
a crack the log bursts throughout, generally Avith a 
jagged end that has to be chopped clean. Sambo and 
Heaton split rails all day, not even coming back for 
dinner, as that Avould have caused a loss of some of the 
precious hours of daylight, but sitting down on a log 
and eating their bread and meat as quickly as they 
could. 

Experiences like this make even negroes thoughtful. 
Sambo came home heavy-hearted and tired in every 
limb. Pete and Moses Avere full of sympathy and anx- 
ious inquiry. 

" Mas'r Heaton dribe yo' mighty ha'd Sambo ? Yo' 
don't nebber cotch time f o' ter res' ? " 

" Nary minute; jes' kep' lammin' 'way at dem logs 
like he made o' brass an' eoAvhide. An' we uns gotter 
go outer 'gain in de mo'nin', 'fore de break o' day," 
added Sambo in a deeply melancholy voice. 



THE HIRED MAN 16T 

" What yer gwine ter do^ Sambo? " 

" I'se gwine ter run 'way 'gain, an' be slave down in 
ole Missouri. I ain't gwine ter stan' bein' free no mo'," 
said Sambo with desperate firmness. 

'' Mebbe yo'll be sole South if yo' go inter Missouri," 
suggested Pete. 

" Den I wo'k 'longside de udder niggas. Yo' can't 
nebber be druv so all-fired hard when dar's a heap o' 
niggas in de field an' on'y one overseer to 'em. He 
hain't got eyes all roun' his head, I reckon. When yo' 
is workin' 'longside o' one white man, an' he's workin' 
too, dat's when yer back's reg'lar broke," said Sambo, 
speaking from bitter experience. 

Now just as these three darkies were thus unfold- 
ing their grievances to each other the door opened and 
Heaton came in with a tin pail in his hand. 

" See here, Sambo, here's your supper of stewed 
meat," said he, setting down the steaming pail and tak- 
ing off the cover. " You must eat a good supper or else 
you'll not be able to work. Starved horses don't pull." 

He left the pail at the elbow of the astonished darky, 
who never before had known a white man come to a 
nigger's cabin in order to make sure that he was well 
fed. As he ate the savoury and sustaining food he felt 
mollified toward freedom and its conditions. 

" Dish hyar bully," he observed, eating his stew with 
vast relish and giving never a spoonful to the greedy 
Pete and Moses. " Dat dar Mas'r Heaton he's despit 
hard driver an' no mistake, but he's gran' ter feed his 
niggas." 

Sometimes Heaton would take out his gun and shoot 
prairie chickens, of which Nancy was very fond, and 
which Aunt ]\Ionin could serve up in a way that w^ould 
tempt the appetite of an epicure. Heaton, with his 
Eastern ideas of equality, would have had the prairie 
chickens served all around to the population as far as 



168 THE JAr-HAWKERS 

they would go, only Aunt Monin had her say upon such 
a course. 

" Lordy, Mas'r Charlie, yo'll spile dem niggas. Dey 
nebber be no good no mo'. What for yo' give 'em white 
folks's meat like dat? Dey on'y 'spise yo' an' say yo' 
don't know ary differ'nce 'tween niggas an' white folks. 
'Fore I give dem prairie chickens to de darkies I feed 
'em to de dorg. Dat's how Aunt Monin fix it." 

" She has her own ideas of rank and quality, which 
are not lightly to be set aside," said Nancy in explana- 
tion, for Heaton was rather nonplussed by this theory 
of the inequality between white and black palates. 

" I must say I find it hard to always understand 
the ideas you Southerners hold in regard to colored per- 
sons," said he, somewhat amused. 

" I ain't no 'pinion o' ' cullod pussons,' " remarked 
Aunt Monin with the most scornful contempt. " Whar 
I been raised down in ole Virginny dar wam't no ' cul- 
lod pusson.' Dar was niggas, an' field ban's, an' dar 
was servants in good famblies. I warn't nebber a field 
ban'. I was allers servant in de big house. Niggas out 
in Missouri dey is powerful ignunt; dey don't know 
nuflfin how ter 'have 'fore white folks — dey don't, fo' 
shu." 

" Aunt Monin, I think you'd spoil any one," said 
Heaton, amused at her quaint philosophy. 

" Mas'r Charlie, yo' jess go fo' ter axe Pete an' 
Moses if Aunt Monin ebber spile ary nigga dat yet been 
bo'n," she answered severely. 

" What about me? " asked Nancy. 

" Ah, yo', honey-chile, nuffin spile yo'," said the old 
woman, turning a beaming look of love to her foster 
child. " De sunshine on de roses an' de dewdrops 
hangin' to 'em can't spile 'em — dey's roses all de while. 
Dat de way 'long o' yo', chile." 

Country life is often considered monotonous by 



THE HIRED MAN 169 

those whose only idea of life is the never-ending succes- 
sion of the more or less fierce excitements supplied by- 
towns and cities. Farm life can never be entirely mo- 
notonous to a woman if she takes into her heart the 
many creatures of the farm and gives them that ma- 
ternal interest that is always near the surface of any 
really womanly nature. By habit as well as by instinct 
a woman takes to young creatures, and if she helps to 
minister to their wants they very soon enter into her 
life and fill it full of interests. 

Take the early visit to the first calf of the season. 
With what interest one opens the door of the cow shed. 
There is the mother, gently anxious, mooing at frequent 
intervals, and eagerly watching over her shoulder to 
see that no one touches that precious youngster of hers 
who has come to fulfil the overpowering mother in- 
stinct. And the youngster himself, standing with four 
legs stretched widely apart, so as to get as firm and 
broad a base as he can for his soft and tremulous body, 
he meets you with a whimsical stare of surprise — sur- 
prise at the shaking insufficiency of his own legs, as well 
as amazement that a being so singular as yourself should 
come to see him. Did ever a lady hear that Mrs. So-and- 
So was in the drawing-room waiting to see her with 
half as much satisfaction as that with which the mis- 
tress of a farm receives the news of the arrival of the 
first spring calf? 

Of the playfulness of lambs it befits no mere mortal 
now to speak in common prose, since the poets have long 
since sung their praises in verse. For this reason pri- 
marily I do not mention them, but also because there 
were no lambs on Nancy's farm, sheep being an un- 
known animal to the prairie farmer. But chickens 
abounded, and in these she rejoiced with a truly femi- 
nine delight. Hens, being of a shy and secluded nature, 
unresponsive to advances, and also not much in evidence 



170 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

in places where poets roam about in quest of rhymes 
and suitable subjects for verse, have not been selected 
for the same amount of eulogy and favour as has fallen 
to the share of the lucky lamb. Chickens, however, are 
not to be despised. The newborn chicken is almost 
the only creature that comes into the world a beautiful 
object instead of a repulsive fright. The much-lauded 
lamb is ungainly, thin-bodied, and outrageously big 
kneed; puppies are blind, helpless, hairy slugs; kittens 
are mere sightless rats without the power of locomotion; 
birds of the air are wide-mouthed skinny creatures, 
shamelessly devoid of clothing, so that their internal 
organisms can be plainly traced through their trans- 
parent skins even without the aid of the Eontgen rays; 
foals are set upon stilts and can't get their heads to the 
ground; but the chick comes into the world open-eyed, 
alert, firm on its tiny legs, able to feed itself, and, above 
all, decently clad in fascinating down. Chickens and 
baby pigs carry the palm for beauty in the first stages 
of their existence. 

Of pigs Nancy had none as yet, but a few samples of 
the more portable and prolific hen had been brought in 
a coop from Missouri, and these were early a source of 
interest to her. She was not a novice, however, to the 
delights of country life, and knew well all about hens 
and chickens and all the small and large creatures that 
make up the complete farm family, but her interest in 
them had to be stimulated anew, just as her interest 
in everything had to be reawakened into activity once 
more. Without knowing it, she drew her inspiration 
of life entirely from her " hired man," this complete 
stranger who had suddenly come into her small world 
and filled it so full. On his side, the " hired man " 
drew his inspiration no less completely from Nancy, 
this youthful lady whom he served so well, but he 
was keenly awake to the state of his own feelings and 



THE HIRED MAN 171 

knew pretty well what was happening to himself at 
least. 

It was a strange life they led, meeting only at meal- 
times and in the long pleasant evenings when they two 
and Aunt Monin would sit in the flickering firelight 
talking. Sometimes Heaton would tell of the far-away 
Eastern States where he had lived such a difl:erent sort of 
life, but generally indeed they talked about the passing 
events of the day. These were so fresh and so varied 
to their young imaginations that they felt very little 
need to draw upon past times. The present was so de- 
lightful. Aunt Monin, who surrounded her " honey- 
chile " with such ceaseless care and tenderness, joined 
now in every one of her joys, as in the past she had 
consoled her in her tribulation. Heaton had come quite 
to like the old negress. She seemed to him different 
from the ordinary run of negroes; perhaps she was rec- 
ommended to him unconsciously by the love which 
Nancy bore her old nurse. Be that as it may, the three 
lived their strange, lonely, hard-working life together 
and were completely happy. 

The winter yielded slowly to the spring. The logs 
were split, the pasture fenced in, and a good supply of 
firewood was cut ready for use by the time the land 
was open for ploughing, when all hands were of course 
turned on to farm work. Heaton looked further ahead 
than the end of the world in his preparations for the 
future, at least so it seemed to the lazy negroes who 
never thought of cutting wood more than a day ahead at 
the most. 

Aunt Monin, who though a negro to the heart's core 
was not at all lazy, was consumed with admiration for 
" Mas'r Charlie," as she invariably called him. The 
other negroes addressed him as " Mas'r Heaton " to his 
face and " ole man " Heaton behind his back. She felt 
it her duty frequently to call Nancy's attention to the 
12 



172 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

amount of work which he did and to the general air 
of prosperous exertion which he had brought into the 
place, an unnecessary precaution since the young mis- 
tress was thoroughly aware of it herself. 

"I disremember I ebber say a truer word, Miss 
Nancy, dan when I say dat outer de sto'm an' de win' 
an' de snow come de help sent by de Lo'd. Yo' ain't 
gwine ter forgit dat, is yo', chile? " 

" No, Aunt Monin, I sha'n't ever forget." 
" An' nebber min' if suthin happen by an' bye dat's 
'special uncommon, don't yo' go an' forgit dat, chile." 
Once when holding forth in this manner on her 
favourite topic she suddenly asked, " Yo' ebber see 
Mas'r Charlie 'fore he come slap outer de snowstorm 
dat night? " As she put this q^^estion she looked curi- 
ously at Nancy, as if trying to read her very thoughts. 
" Of course not; I never saw him before. How 
should I?" 

" Him ain't a Kansas man anyhow, dat's shu'." 
" He came out from Vermont State last summer." 
" See dat now! " exclaimed she with apparent tri- 
umph; " I knowed he warn't no poor white trash, like 
dese hyar folks in Kansas." 

But if Aunt Monin took an especial interest in 
Heaton, Susannah, on the other hand, could not endure 
the sight of him. This was rather an annoyance to 
Nancy at first, for she had made the mulatto woman 
into a second house servant, useful in the domestic work 
along with Aunt Monin. In the beginning these two 
had always come into the kitchen of an evening when 
the day's work was over and Heaton was enjoying the 
customary long chat with Nancy before making off 
to his own abode, one of the three log cabins which he 
had appropriated to his own use. Susannah would gaze 
at him with fascinated eyes for a long time in silence, 
after which she would suddenly fall a-weeping and 



THE HIRED MAN 173 

a-praying in a frantic manner, and would have to be 
quieted by Aunt Monin. This distressed Nancy so much 
that Susannah was bid spend her evenings hencefortn 
along with the other negroes in their particular cabins. 
Heaton had never been accustomed to negroes and 
knew nothing about them. Indeed, he rather disliked 
them than otherwise, considering them, rightly enough, 
as poor shiftless, lazy creatures, of not much use in the 
world, but rather an impediment to hard energetic work, 
which was the god of the regular Down Easter. He did 
not like their black faces; he had, in fact, in common 
with so many ISTortherners, almost a repugnance to them, 
not having been accustomed to them from early child- 
hood. It used to make him squirm to see Nancy put 
her hands on Aunt Monin's cheek and pat it as she often 
did. He did not like the touch of their soft oily skin 
nor the odour that undoubtedly belonged to them. This 
" nigger smell," as it was contemptuously styled, was 
denied by fervid friends of the black man as an ignorant 
libel; it is now known to exist as a scientific fact. All 
this combined to make Heaton desire to have the negroes 
as little as possible in personal contact with himself, 
but he was strictly just toward them and animated by 
a deep desire to do all he could to ameliorate their con- 
dition. Though he might not like to touch them, he 
never ill treated them in the slightest degree, nor even 
in moments of extreme exasperation did he ever swear 
at them. The negroes, on their side, understood his jus- 
tice in a measure, but they realized much more fully his 
personal repugnance to themselves, and resented it far 
more than they would have done a little swearing and 
an occasional kick or two. Therefore they did not like 
him, and always kept at a distance from him, never, 
with the exception of Aunt Monin, speaking to him 
unless obliged to do so. He, on his side, laboured under 
all a Northerner's disadvantages, and never could see 



174 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

any difference between one negro and another. They 
were all black to him, and for a length of time he did 
not know the difference between M'linder and Lize 
Jane, though Lize Jane was the mother of three chil- 
dren and M'linder was a girl of sixteen. 

But though Heaton did not recognise the negroes, 
they recognised him, and it was whispered among them 
from the first that he was one of the men who tried 
to run them off in the autumn, when " ole mas'r " was 
killed in the sitting room and C^sar had drowned his 
child in a frenzy at Mine Creek. No whisper of this 
ever came to Nancy's ears, however, for Aunt Monin, 
who had heard their talk, declared in her most impres- 
sive manner that she would whip into a jelly the first 
nigger who opened his lips upon so painful a subject to 
Miss Nancy. And since they all loved Nancy in their 
way and were grateful to her for what she had done 
for them, they held their tongues, affection and fear 
both operating to insure silence. 

Sambo alone groaned in secret over his wrongs, and 
notwithstanding good suppers determined to run away 
from the hard work. He confided his intentions to Pete 
and Moses, and those young darkies, although deeply 
sympathetic, were torn with feelings of conflicting duty, 
first to Sambo and then to Miss Nancy. They compro- 
mised by telling Aunt Monin what was in the wind, and 
she, of course, went straight to Nancy with the news. 

The poor girl was deeply grieved, feeling that the 
great boon of freedom ought to have made Sambo for- 
ever grateful, or at least that he ought to have been 
quite frank and open with her. 

" Depend upon it he does not understand his posi- 
tion," remarked Heaton, who was present when Aunt 
Monin, her eyes blazing with wrath, told the story. " If 
the fellow knows he may go any minute and that you 
will pay him his wages he will probably quite give up the 



THE HIRED MAN 175 

idea, I have made him go pretty fast ahead with the 
work, and he isn't broken into it yet. The best thing 
would be to have him in at once and talk the matter over 
with him." 

Accordingly, Sambo was fetched, looking very much 
scared indeed. 

" I hear you are thinking of leaving Miss Nancy." 
observed Heaton in a friendly manner, which utterly 
astounded Sambo, who expected to be threatened with 
a cowhiding at least, if not with actual death, for at- 
tempting to run away, so utterly ignorant was he of 
the primary elements of the status of freedom. 

He made some stammering protest which Heaton 
failed to understand. 

" Were you thinking of going to Kansas City ? 
There is work to be had there, steamboat loading, but 
it is very heavy work and generally kills off young fel- 
lows like you. I think you had better stay with Miss 
Nancy until the spring is well opened. Then you can 
hire out with some farmer and get good wages straight 
on through the summer. There'll be work going and 
plenty this year, I expect. But if you really want to 
go now, you can do so. Miss Nancy will pay you 
your wages, since you have worked for her as a free 
negro." 

Nancy handed him a bundle of greenbacks, saying: 
" This is all I can afford. Sambo. I hope you will do 
well. I have done my best by you." 

Her voice quivered. Sambo was utterly overcome, 
and fell upon his knees, blubbering like a baby. 

" Lordy, Miss Nancy, don't want nebber for ter go 
'way from yo'. Sambo stay an' work for yo' all his life, 
so he will. On'y please, ^liss Nancy, yo' ax Mas'r 
Heaton he let me off nudder half hour at dinna time 
for ter go sleep a'ter eatin' de vittles." 

Heaton could not help laughing. " Poor devil! I 



176 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

suppose I did work him too hard, and he is not used 
to it." 

Sambo returned to his cabin and kicked both Pete 
and Moses for having dared to tell Miss Nancy he was 
going to run away, and promised them a thorough 
thrashing for themselves if they did not work their level 
best for her every day of their lives for evermore. The 
youths were amazed, but forbore from comments, as they 
were howling over the kicks already received, and were, 
moreover, in momentary dread of receiving another dose 
should they offend Sambo in his present savage mood. 



CHAPTEE XV 

CONFESSIONS 

The spring of 1861 had begun, that spring which 
was to blossom into such a summer and to bear such 
bitter fruit in tlie autumn. From the Soutli the storm 
clouds were rolling up, and the North was preparing to 
meet secession by force. Excitement was rising to 
fever heat in almost every corner of the country, except 
perhaps in that little spot where our interest is concen- 
trated. Nancy and Heaton paid little or no attention 
to the storm that was brewing. Too far removed from 
civilization to feel more than a faint throb of its feverish 
pulse, these two young people were so pleasantly ab- 
sorbed in themselves and in each other that they did 
not pay heed even to that symptom of the oncoming of 
the great struggle. Heaton had no thought, no wish, 
that was not bounded by and centred in that tiny hamlet. 

Of course he had fallen in love with Nancy. It 
would have been preposterous if he had not done so. 
He, a young man depending for his whole companion- 
ship on a young girl, a very pretty young girl, with 
whom he was constantly associating to the exclusion of 
every other girl under the canopy of heaven. He fell in 
love with her at once, and he fell deeply in love, more- 
over. He knew it, and he also knew that she would love 
him; this, not from inordinate self-conceit, but from the 
plain fact that there was no one else to take her atten- 
tion o2 himself. 

177 



178 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Now Heaton was of a romantic turn of mind, al- 
though he did not suspect this, and sometimes he used 
to feel a shade of regret that his own love story, the 
poem of his whole life, was so smooth and uneventful. 
He saw Nancy every day; saw her with her negroes 
around her, the gentle yet firm mistress kindly ruling 
them for their own good; saw her occupied with the 
daily duties of the house, eagerly ahsorhed in the ex- 
citements incident to the hatching of early chickens; 
saw her gently concerned when the meal bin was run- 
ning low and the horses were not available to go to the 
gristmill; in fact, saw her fulfilling the duties of her 
station with seriousness and forethought. He knew 
that he loved her. He knew too that when the time 
came he could with a word awaken the love light in her 
eyes. There were no doubtings and trepidations. Did 
not love, imperious, wayward love, demand something 
more than this? Some greater test and trial of devo- 
tion? 

Nancy with her clear limpid eyes stood before him 
revealed in the girlish innocence of her heart. He never 
suspected that there might be a fountain of passionate 
womanly feeling beneath that calm and gentle exterior 
he knew so well. As they sat in the firelight of an 
evening, while Aunt Monin poked at the logs as it was 
her constant delight to do, Heaton would sometimes 
fall into a waking dream. Nancy, sitting there in her 
low chair, was not the young girl of the present moment, 
she was the image of the future wife. And he no 
longer saw her sitting idly, shielding her face from the 
bright wood blaze with her small vigorous hands, but 
his fancy pictured her leaning over something that was 
nestling against her gentle bosom, while those soft 
round arms curved themselves into a warm cradle that 
held within their sheltering barrier something inex- 
pressibly precious. This was the picture the young 



CONFESSIONS 179 

man saw in the firelight in the days when the war clouds 
were rolling up blacker and blacker from the South. 

How calm and uneventful the future stretched out 
before them! They would live at Carthage, he and 
Nancy together, growing old in the home they had built 
up for themselves, and hand in hand they would walk 
on toward the land of the hereafter. Thus mused the 
young man, holding his first love dream to his heart. 
Storm clouds might gather unheeded in South Carolina; 
none were visible over the wide-stretching horizon 
around Carthage. 

At least not to his eyes. 

But others there were whose vision was clearer. 
Aunt Monin saw and rejoiced in the love that was com- 
ing into her honey-chile's life, the strong, manly love 
that she needed to give centre and aim to her own af- 
fections and to round off her being; but Aunt Monin 
dreaded what might happen when Nancy came to know, 
what sooner or later she must find out, the part that 
Heaton had unwittingly played in her past life. She 
knew that there was a side to Nancy's character unsus- 
pected by Heaton, a determination and a will that 
seemed almost foreign to so young and gentle a crea- 
ture. It was there, however, and Aunt Monin, who 
longed to see her fosterling married to this stalwart 
young fellow, dreaded what might be the direction that 
strong will would take when she discovered the secret 
which each was keeping so unconsciously from the 
other. The secret had not yet been told, and all the 
old woman could hope was that it might not be told 
until Nancy was Heaton's wedded wife, when she would 
find it impossible to break away from him, even in the 
first outrush of her grief and despair. Meantime, all 
she could do was to preach in her own mystical way to 
her honey-chile, and thus prepare her as well as she 
could for the shock, without actually telling her any- 



180 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

tiling. This she accordingly did at all seasons and 
under all possible circumstances; but her words bore no 
immediate fruit, as Nancy's mind was not prepared to 
understand their true significance, and Aunt Monin 
dared not make them any plainer. 

Love transfigures all things and can shed a halo of 
rose-tinted light over the most commonplace scene. 
No girl can ever forget the moment when she first hears 
the words that awake her heart to love, nor can she shut 
out from her eyes the scene where those words were 
spoken. It is photographed upon her mind in the flash 
which floods her soul with light, and there it remains 
printed to the last day of her life. Heaton and Nancy 
were returning together from the pasture field that lay 
at a short distance from the house, where he had just 
impounded a wild young Indian pony which he in- 
tended to train for Nancy's sole use. It was the first 
present he had given her, and she was pleased beyond 
measure at the wild beautiful young creature. They 
had watched the pony for some time, and were going 
back toward the house, when Heaton suddenly spoke in 
a voice that vibrated with a difl'erent tone from what 
Nancy had ever heard before. He told her in a few 
manly words of his love for her, and asked her to be his 
wife, and she, not surprised and not startled, had an- 
swered a firm, full-voiced " Yes." Then he took her 
in his arms and gave her the first love kiss that liad ever 
touched those sweet lips of hers. The sun was just 
sinking below the distant horizon, a red glowing ball of 
fire, and as it disappeared great bands of crimson and 
gold streaked the sky above the blue edge of the prairie, 
looking for all the world like a city on fire, belching 
smoke and flame into the air. That was the scene im- 
printed by love's first words on Nancy's mental vision, 
never to be effaced. In after years it often rose up 
again before her. It was an omen, but one not to be 



CONFESSIONS 181 

understood until after the accomplishment of the des- 
tiny it foretold. Such, however, has always been the 
nature of omens. 

Aunt Monin was transported with delight when 
Nancy, with smiles and blushes and a few tears, an- 
nounced her engagement to Heaton. 

" There is no one now to wish me joy but you. Aunt 
Monin. Kiss me, mawmee," she said, using her baby 
name for her nurse. 

" Honey-chile, yo' jess fulfillin' de d'sign o' de Lo'd 
when he sen' Mas'r Charlie hyar outer de snowstorm. 
Dat war de special Prov'dence I done tell yo' 'bout. 
Now yo' raise off de curse, an' make yer way smooth 
'fore de Lo'd, an' yer days long in de Ian'. Honey-chile, 
yer mother what give yo' ter me f er ter save me from de 
sin o' murder, she see now dis hyar spiation jess gwine 
ter be 'complish, an' she rejoice wid de lamb." 

Aunt Monin's mystical language was not very clear 
to Nancy's comprehension, but there was no mistaking 
her earnest satisfaction at the marriage her beloved 
child was going to make. 

Heaton was even more bewildered by Aunt Monin's 
congratulations. 

" Mas'r Charlie, the han' what take 'way kin give 
back. Yo' jess take that honey-chile ter yer heart an' 
love her all the days o' yer life. If yo' ebber cause her 
pang o' sorrow, den de curse come down 'gain an' blight 
yer life." 

" Well, Aunt Monin, she'll never shed a tear if I can 
help it. You may be sure of that," he said in reply to 
her somewhat oracular remarks. 

" Ain't so sure o' dat by long sight, Mas'r Charlie. 
Dat's jess what's troubling me — yo' dunno what yo' do. 
Mebbe yo' go 'way an' leave her." 

" How dare you hint at such a thing! " said Heaton 
in a blaze of wrath. 



182 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" Dar's strange an' won'erful times a-comin', Mas'r 
Charlie, an' de heavens is full o' signs an' won'ers. Yo' 
see dat blood-red streak in de sky dis night? Dat mean 
suthin awful's gwine ter happen," replied Aunt Monin, 
taking refuge in mystery and vagueness. 

" What? The red sunset, do you mean? It may 
betoken a storm to-morrow, that's all," said Heaton 
with a laugh. 

" 'Pen' upon it, Mas'r Charlie, dat mean suthin more 
nor rain an' win'. I'se sight ol'er nor yo' be, an' I neb- 
ber seed de sky dartin' flames like dat nowhere, an' I war 
riz in ole Virginny whar dey have heap o' tings dese 
hyar folks out on de plains nebber hearn tell on." 

How swiftly sped the days of their courtship, and 
how sweetly! 

There was no reason why they should not be married 
out of hand, a course that Heaton strongly approved of, 
but Nancy, womanlike, wanted to get a few new things 
for the occasion. No woman, be she ever so jDrosaic, 
could feel that she was properly married unless she had 
something new in the way of clothes. Aunt Monin, 
while anxious for an immediate wedding, was strong on 
this point. Miss Nancy's mother was married in white 
muslin, with a crown of flowers on her head, and she 
was married down in " ole Virginny." Nothing else 
must Nancy wear but white muslin, and in order to have 
the similarity more complete she must be married in the 
middle of April, just as that mother had been whom 
Nancy had never seen, but who had become such a po- 
tent influence in her daughter's life. 

Mrs. Grundy certainly did not emigrate to Kansas 
with the first rush of settlers. They lived too far apart 
and were too busy with their own concerns to have much 
spare time for criticising their neighbours. Still, wher- 
ever two or three women are gathered together one of 
them is pretty sure to arrogate to herself the office of 



CONFESSIONS 183 

critic. Nancy's nearest neighbour, many miles off to 
be sure, was a widow woman with a son just grown up, 
and she had had lier eye upon Nancy from the start as a 
possible match for her gawk of a boy. She had sent 
him on all sorts of errands to Nancy's house, but, as he 
was hopelessly shy, he did himself and his suit no good, 
and his mother used to scold him on his return. 

Mrs. Hale — that was the self-constituted critic's 
name — felt it her bounden duty to tell Nancy whenever 
she made any mistakes, and shortly after Heaton's first 
arrival at Carthage her sense of this duty necessitated 
her telling Nancy what a mistake it was to take him on 
as " hired man." 

" I '"low you can't pay him no sorter wage as 'ull 
make him stay," she remarked on her first visit, after 
hearing of the new white man at Carthage. 

" He's going to stay till the crop is cut, anyway," 
said Nancy, rather proud of the opportunity of showing 
Mrs. Hale that she understood her own interest. 

"Wal, I reckon he'll mos' likely put in a power o' 
corn as you can't hill up an' cut — no, not if you had 
twice as many ban's as you hev. You bed oughter bev 
consulted my son Jeemes. He's powerful cute 'bout 
farmin' an' all that. There ain't nary one on the prairie 
'ull git ahead o' Jeemes, you bet." 

When Mrs. Hale saw Heaton, as she managed to do 
by staying uninvited to supper and finally all night, to 
Nancy's complete disgust, she had fierce qualms of 
jealousy as the mother of a possible suitor in face of a 
probably successful rival. 

" \Yhar you come from? " she asked abruptly, 

" From Vermont," answered Heaton, raising his hat 
with the manners of another civilization. 

" Guess you'll not make any great shakes o' farmin' 
out this er way," replied ]\Irs. Hale, eying him critically. 
" There was a feller outer Philydelphy hyar las' year an' 



184 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

he war sold outer farm an' Ian' pretty quick, I can tell 
yer. Kansas ain't no place for them sarcy Down East 
folks." 

" We sometimes succeed where there is hard work to 
be done/' said Heaton, half vexed at her outrageous self- 
satisfied impudence. 

" I'm outer ole Kentuck. My ole man he come 
'long hyar mos' as early as anybody, he did, an' he kep' 
a-movin' 'long an' raisin' corn in new Ian' mos' every 
year." 

" How did you get on in the drought last year? " 

" We done pretty tol'ble. My ole man he tuck an' 
died o' the shake an' fever, an' Jeemes he 'lowed there 
warn't nary thing better ter do than to go a-raidin'. 
So he Jay-Hawked a spell down in Missouri, an' he got 
a heap o' corn an' truck," said Mrs. Hale affably. 

" It was a sinful, wicked thing to do," burst out 
Nancy passionately. " I don't see how you people, whp 
are all for freedom and call yourselves ' Free-soilers/ 
dare do such things. It is just simple robbery and 
nothing else. That's what I think." 

'* Wal, mos' everybody in Kansas is a Jay-Hawker. 
They can git a heap o' stuff right handy that er way," 
said Mrs, Hale in defence of the absent Jeemes. 

" I don't believe it. They are not all Jay-Hawkers. 
Jvansas men aren't all robbers, are they, Mr. Helton ? " 
s;;iid Nancy with flashing eyes. 

" No, indeed," said he earnestly. " The best of the 
Jay-Hawkers are not robbers; they don't raid for the 
sake of stealing at all, but for the purpose of freeing the 
slaves, A great many people are beginning to think 
that even with this sole object in view it is a dangerous 
practice. I think so myself. That's not the way to set 
things right." 

" Ef I war a gal as war a-lookin' out for a husband," 
remarked ]\[rs. Hale somewhat contemptuously in re- 



CONFESSIONS 185 

ply, " I wouldn't look twice at ary man as couldn't ride 
as peart as any on a Jay-Hawk raid. What we women 
folk wants is a man as can use his rifle quick an' straight 
an' defen' us, an' not them sneakin' Yankee fellers as 
on'y kin talk like a preacher. They ain't no sorter use 
on the prairie. We ain't ready yet for preachin' fellers. 
We's turnin' up fresh sod, that's what we're doin'." 

" I'd as soon marry a road robber as a Jay-Hawker," 
said Nancy angrily in reply to this exposition of out- 
and-out Kansas views. 

" Wal, mos' gals out whar I was riz kinder waited till 
they was axed," remarked Mrs. Hale, with a sting at the 
end of her tongue that would have done credit to a 
fashionable lady, and yet she was nothing but an igno- 
rant settler's wife. But she knew where to hit, espe- 
cially as Heaton was present. " Ther hain't nary Jay- 
Hawker axed yer, has ther yit? Mebbe they wouldn't 
care for a wife with no sort o' sperrit o' her own. My 
son Jeemes wouldn't, anyhow." , 

This was too good an opening for a return shot for 
Nancy to neglect. 

•^ I dare say your son's spirit has mostly gone in Jay- 
Hawking," she said with a toss of her head, " Anyhow, 
he don't seem to have much left to show off in conversa- 
tion. He sat here two hours by the clock last week, and 
all he said was, *' Ma's ole yaller hen done laid an egg 
'thout ary shell.' " 

Heaton burst out laughing and made his escape 
from the kitchen, thinking that Nancy was a match for 
]\Irs. Hale without any of his clumsy assistance. He 
did not reappear again that evening, leaving Nancy to 
wrestle with her visitor as best she could, Mrs, Hale, 
thus relieved from the irritating cause of her ill temper, 
became more agreeable and entertained her hostess 
throughout the evening with a continual flow of con- 
versation, wherein boastings of herself and her son 



186 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Jeemes took a leading part. In the morning when 
Heaton brought her horse ready saddled for her to ride 
home, she even relented so far toward that young man 
as to remark, that she " calc'lated he warn't gwinter lope 
roun' thar ary spell longer ner he could help, an' she 
hearn tell thar war a man outer Tecumseh as war speer- 
in' roun' ter fin' a man for ter 'tend store for him, an' 
mebbe he'd suit thar." 

Heaton thanked her for the hint, but said that he 
was quite satisfied with his present situation. 

What Nancy had said to Mrs. Hale in her anger re- 
mained with him, however, and he often thought over it, 
wondering in his own mind if he should tell her that he, 
too, had once ridden in a Jay-Hawk raid to his own deep 
sorrow. Nancy was, he realized, a woman of strong 
feeling, and he did not know how it might affect her at- 
titude of mind toward himself if she knew that he had 
been mixed up in one of those very expeditions about 
which she used such uncompromising expressions. No 
one could deplore the results of that fatal ride more 
than he did himself, but it was quite another thing for 
him to see the disapproval which he felt reflected in the 
beautiful eyes of the girl he loved. He did not feel 
himself such a hero as to be able to run the risk of chill- 
ing her regard for him by telling her of the raid. This 
was the feeling he had in the early days of their ac- 
quaintance, and somehow after they were engaged he 
did not find it one whit more easy to tell her. He dread- 
ed lest she might think that he ought to have told her 
before asking her to be his wife; and so the days slipped 
by and the story was still untold. 

Their wedding day was fast approaching, and Heaton 
took himself seriously to task. It was not right to let 
her marry him without knowing this fact of his past life. 
Come what may, she must be told before they were mar- 
ried. Of course, in his heart he knew that she loved 



CONFESSIONS 187 

him too well to give him up for an act which he had 
long since bitterly repented, and which, after all, was 
not an uncommon occurrence in the society in which 
they both lived. People are judged by the prevailing 
standard of their surroundings, and not by a foreign or 
ideal standard. It was their intention to be married in 
Tecumseh, and then to go to Fort Leavenworth for a 
week, when they would make some small household 
purchases upon which Nancy had set her woman's 
heart. This brief wedding tour would not take Heaton 
away from the farm work for too long at this important 
season of the year. 

The evening before they were to go away to be mar- 
ried Heaton and Nancy were sitting together in the 
kitchen alone. All their small preparations were made, 
and they were to make an early start the next morning, 
accompanied by Aunt Monin and Sambo, who, after 
acting the part respectively of bridesmaid and grooms- 
man, were to bring back the wagon, while the newly 
wedded pair were to proceed by stagecoach to Fort 
Leavenworth for their honeymoon, as it is called, or 
honey week, as it was really to be. 

Heaton, loverlike, was holding Nancy's hand as he 
sat beside her. 

" My dearest girl, there is something I want to tell 
you. I am going to confess, as they say. I don't want 
you to marry a man about whom you'll have anything to 
discover later on." 

His voice was not quite steady, and a fine observer 
would have noticed that he drew his breath quickly, as 
if he were not quite sure of himself. Nancy turned her 
dark eyes upon him and gave him a look of loving 
trustfulness, as much as to say that absolution awaited 
him. Confession was but a formula. 

"Nobody can feel more strongly about the evils of 
Jaw-Hawking than I do. You have often heard me say 
13 



188 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

so; but when I first came out here I was full of wild 
excitement. The John Brown fever had caught me, 
and I saw nothing unjust in freeing negroes by force. 
I saw only the ultimate effect — that of freeing the slaves. 
I did not realize what might be the accompanying de- 
tails. There was a raid last year, and hearing my neigh- 
bours speak about it I joined, without any distinct com- 
prehension of what I was aiming at accomplishing, and 
God knows without any idea of what I was going to do." 

"What time of year was it?" asked Nancy. She 
withdrew her hand from his clasp. He felt a pang at 
her doing so, but he answered the question. 

" It was the second week in October." 

Heaton did not look at Nancy as he spoke; he feared 
to meet some look of disapproval in her dark glance. 
Had he looked he would have been startled to see how 
ghastly white she had become. He continued his nar- 
rative in a steady voice, telling the plain facts, not try- 
ing to excuse himself in any way. 

" I was living at Keokuk, in the southern part of the 
State, where I told you I have some land. We rode 
across the Missouri line and separated into parties of 
five, to go to the different farms around and collect up 
the negroes. I was ordered to go into a certain house 
and keep the inmates quiet. They told me I would 
have no trouble, as there were only women and an old 
man there. I remember the house so well, standing a 
little way back from the road, looking so peaceful in 
the afternoon sunlight. There was a veranda with 
some grapevines and roses growing over it, and a bit 
of ivy just turning red at one end." 

Nancy's face was awful to behold. Her eyes glit- 
tered unnaturally and were distended as if she were 
looking at some hideous object that froze her heart 
with horror, yet from which she was unable to remove 
her horror-stricken gaze. Her cheeks were colourless. 



CONFESSIONS 189 

her lips were blanched. Heaton without looking at her 
continued his story, longing for some sign of affection 
and forgiveness from her, yet too proud and too just to 
beg for it until the whole of his fault should have been 
laid before her. 

" I went into the sitting room; it was darkened, but 
a man sat in a chair. I told him I was a Jay-Hawker, 
and had come for his slaves; that resistance was useless. 
He raised his head, gave me such a look of defiance, and 
told some one to fetch his gun. I didn't see any one 
in the room. I dared not take my eyes off that man's 
fierce face for fear that he should spring upon me and 
unarm me. Some one, a girl I think, handed him a 
gun, and I saw him raise it to fire. It was my life 
against his. I had never meant to kill him, but he 
forced my hand. I had to do it to save myself. Was it 
very wrong, Nancy? " 

He looked at her then. Great God! was that Nancy? 

She had risen to her feet and was backing slowly 
away from him; she threw up her hands with a gurgling 
cry in horrid imitation of that man in Missouri after 
he had been shot, and her head was falling back, her 
eyes staring, her face a dreadful green-white hue, the 
hue of death. The door of the inner room opened 
quickly, and she fell back into the arms of Aunt ]\Ionin, 
who had heard the cry. Heaton gazed at her in speech- 
less amaze. He had never suspected that her feeling 
about the events of that raid would have been so strong. 

" Ah, Mas'r Charlie," said Aunt Monin's voice in 
deeply sorrowful cadence, " yo' done hit her plumb fru 
de heart, jess like yo' did her father. Po' honey- 
chile! " 

Heaton gave a hoarse cry. 

" What does it mean? " he asked, panting. 

" Dat war her father yo' killed las' fall in Missouri, 
I seed yo' an' knowed yo' 'gain de minute yo' come inter 



190 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

dish hyar house. She nebber knowed yo', an' now she's 
struck fru de heart by yer han' too, Mas'r Charlie, 
same like her ole dad war." 

" This is the curse of God! " exclaimed Heaton, 
rushing wildly out through the door into the gathering 
dusk. 



CHAPTER XVI 

OFF TO THE WARS 

Heaton spent the night which shoukl have been the 
last of his bachelor life Avandering about the prairie, a 
prey to the wildest grief. To think that of all the men 
who fell in the long border war which was waged be- 
tween Kansas and Missouri the only one he had killed 
should have been ISTancy's father! Hers, then, was that 
wailing cry that had rung in his ears that day and had 
rung in his heart for so many days afterw^ard. How 
cruel, how inexorable was Fate, which had decreed that 
he who loved her with his whole heart should be the one 
to make her life desolate ! He could not picture to him- 
self a more awful destiny, and turn it as he would in 
his mind he could see no light and no hope anywhere. 
The brand of Cain was on him still, and verily his pun- 
ishment was almost more than he could bear. So all 
through the spring night he wandered about, too 
wretched to remain at home, and on the morning that 
was to have been his wedding day he returned to his 
little cabin, looking as if a year of suffering had passed 
over his head. 

The news that Miss Nancy was ill and that the wed- 
ding had been put off soon spread among the negroes, 
who went about with faces of mystery, wondering what 
had happened. No one but Aunt Monin knew that it 
was Heaton Avho had fired that fatal shot, and she had 
never told any one. The other negroes, although per- 

191 



192 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

fectly aware that he had ridden in the raid and was 
among those who fought at Mine Creek, did not know 
the particulars of what had taken place beyond their im- 
mediate observation. None of them had been in the 
house when Overton was killed, and, beyond the fact 
that the old mas'r had been shot by one of the Jay- 
Hawkers, they knew nothing. Thus they had no clew 
as to the cause of Nancy's sudden illness, but they were 
full of curiosity and awe. Heaton spent the whole 
day shut up in his cabin, seeing no one and speaking to 
no one. Poor fellow! It was a lonely vigil for him to 
keep on that day of all days. 

Toward the afternoon Aunt ]\Ionin went to him with 
some food. He was sitting with his head buried in his 
hands, the picture of hopeless despair. 

" Mas'r Charlie, why don't yo' pray for de Ijo'd ter 
show yo' some sign, so 3-0' know what ter do in de day 
o' 'fliction? " said she, looking sorrowfully at him in 
his dumb despair. 

" I can't," said Heaton, raising two mournful eyes 
to her face with a look of hopeless misery. " Tell me, 
how is she? " 

" Dat honey-chile's heart done broke," answered the 
old woman with a sob. 

" Can't you comfort her? Can't you say something 
to her? " he asked with pitiful eagerness. 

" Ole Aunt Monin can't say nuffin, Mas'r C^harlie. 
She on'y pray, an' mebbe de Lo'd he put words o' com- 
fort inter de ole nigga woman's mouth what'll give hope 
an' cons'lation to de suff'rin' chile." 

" What did she say? " 

" She don't say a heap nohow, Mas'r Charlie. She 
like she done lost de power o' speech sometimes, an' she 
on'y sob an' cry an' say dat she love yo' so, ah, dat slie 
love yo' so! " 

Heaton shivered. 



OFF TO THE WARS 193 

" Dat honey-chile," went on Aunt Monin, while the 
tears ran down her old withered cheeks, " she ain't like 
mos' gals. SJie war allers mighty lonesome, an' live by 
herse'f de whole life long. She didn't go fo' ter have 
heap o' 'lations, like some folks. She hadn't no mother, 
on'y Jess her ole dad, what she love. Den de han' o' de 
Lo'd fall 'pon him, an' he war taken from her. Den she 
didn't have nobody lef 'cept ole Aunt Monin to love. 
Den bimeby yo' come 'long, Mas'r Charlie, an' I 'low dat 
war de spiation fo' dat sin o' spillin' blood. An' she 
love yo' like yo' don't know how much. She Jess give 
yo' all de love dat go ter father an' mother an' sisters in 
mos' gals. She didn't have nary one to love 'cept yo', 
an' yo' got it all. Den dar come de rev'lation 'bout de 
killin' o' de ole mas'r. An' she 'pears like she can't 
nebber f orgit dat yer han' has pulled de trigger what kill 
her old dad. She don' see dat war de ban' o' de Lo'd 
what done dat ar in spiation o' de sin what he guilty 
of." 

Heaton was not listening to this last remark, and if 
he had listened he would not have understood to what 
she alluded. His mind was riveted upon one thought: 
his hand had slain her father. Could he marvel that 
she shrank from him instinctively? She saw blood 
on his hand, and that blood was her father's. It 
would be almost unnatural had she not shrunk from 
him, and yet he was the one being in the whole world 
whom she most loved. 

" I must see her," he said at length. " I must try 
and talk to her and set it before her in a different light." 

He started to leave the cabin, but Aunt Monin 
stepped quickly before him. " Mas'r Charlie, yo' 
mustn't go an' try fo' ter see her. She don't want yo' 
ter do dat. She done tole me so." 

The young man sat down again. Nancy's slightest 
wish was law to him. 



194 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" By and bye mayn't I see her? I am sure I could 
say something to her," he urged. 

Aunt Monin shook her head. 

" I don't reckon you'll ebber see her 'gain." 

Heaton sprang up with a passionate cry. 

" Aunt Monin, don't say that! It is wicked. She 
will love me again after a while when she has had a 
little time to get over it." 

" Mas'r Charlie, she love yo' now dish bressed min- 
ute. Dat what she say all de night long, dat she love 
yo' so. Dat's why she's gwine 'way." 

"She mustn't go away. Why should she go?" he 
asked, tramping up and down the small room, jjressing 
his hands together in his agony of mind. 

" She say she gwine 'way 'cause she can't stay near 
yo', an' she love yo' always. She's gwine ter Lawrence 
ter live dar. An' she say yo' can keep de farm an' de 
crop." 

" Tell her she mustn't," said Heaton with desperate 
earnestness. " Tell her that if she does not want to 
see me, I will go away. Tell her I will stay away imtil 
she calls me back. She must not go away. I can not 
bear it. I have twice wrecked her happiness and twice 
broken up her home. Oh, my God! " 

He sat down again and hid his face in his hands, 
his whole frame shaken by a bitter sob that came from 
his very heart. Aunt Monin looked at him in mournful 
silence, and when the frantic paroxysm of his grief 
had spent itself, she said: " Can't yo' eat a little mite o' 
vittles, Mas'r Charlie?" She set the plate she had 
brought before him on the table, but he only shook his 
head and pushed it away. 

" Miss Nancy, she done tole me ter make yo' eat a 
speck o' suthin," said the old woman. 

" Did she want me to ? " asked Heaton, raising his 
eyes. 



OFF TO THE WARS 195 

" Yes, ]\Ias'r Charlie." 

He forced himself to eat a few mouthfuls, and then 
Aunt Monin went away, leaving him to his mournful re- 
flections. 

When two days, two unutterably long days, had 
passed, and still Nancy did not see him, he began to 
realize that it was her determination not to see him 
again. The thought when first it presented itself to his 
mind had been dismissed as too miserable to be en- 
dured, but as time went on and still Nancy would not 
see him he began to perceive that the idea must be 
borne no matter how terrible it was. For them to re- 
main so close together and yet so far apart was living 
death to. them both. Life like that could not go on. 
He resolved, therefore, to go away at once. It was 
with a sort of savage rage that he saw there was work 
for him to do which might soon put an end to all his 
misery. 

It was the third week in the month of April. Fort 
Sumter had been fired upon and captured by impudent 
South Carolina, and already the ominous tramp had 
begun in the North of men marching South to fight 
for the preservation of the Union, which, whether they 
reasoned it out or not, was instinctively felt to be the 
very life of the nation. The first call had been made 
for volunteers to serve for ninety days, so little did men 
then foresee the course of that long and bloody struggle. 
On the fourth day of his misery Heaton rode into Te- 
cumseh and gave in his name as a volunteer. He was 
ordered to join a troop from Fort Leavenworth which 
was to start for the Potomac, whither all the men were 
hurrying, and that within twenty-four hours. Time 
pressed and men were wanted to defend the capital as 
fast as possible. The Sixth Massachusetts had already 
gone to Washington, and had been set upon by the 
roughs of Baltimore, and had been obliged to fire their 



196 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

first shots in the streets of that town in self-defence. 
The war had in veriest truth hegun. 

Notwithstanding his grief and the bitter ending of 
his brief love story, Heaton could not help a certain 
feeling of exhilaration as he rode back from Tecumseh 
to Carthage. He had now something to do, something 
that would absorb all his faculties and give no time for 
vain regrets and hopeless musings. Physical exertion 
in some measure drives away sorrow. It is the deadly 
inaction after grief that makes such deep scars upon 
the heart. Thus men are the more rapidly able to re- 
cover after a blow than women, because they are out in 
the world and can not give so much time to their sor- 
rows as women can. As he rode along the familiar 
track the young man paused for a moment to look about 
him. His eye swept the horizon, bordered by the blue 
woods of the Kaw Eiver, as it came from the mysterious 
West and pursued its way to the far distant Gulf of 
Mexico. The rolling slope of the near ridge of prairie 
showed the tender green of the early springing grass, 
and there in the foreground lay the cluster of cabins 
which had been to him a home, and which held all that 
M-as most dear to him on earth. There was Nancy's 
window, and there the door where in memory he would 
see her stand long after he had left her, maybe, forever. 
That was the door where he had seen her standing on 
that snowy night with the flickering firelight just catch- 
ing the silhouette of her face and drawing shining lines 
of light in her black hair. 

People say that when men are dying they see visions 
with wonderful clearness. As Heaton sat on his horse 
looking at this view he wondered if he were killed 
should he have time before breathing his last to see 
ii.uain once more that vision of Nancy in the doorway. 
That was the vision he wanted to carry with him into 
the grave, and not that other vision of a grief-stricken 



OFF TO THE WARS 197 

woman with despairing cry falling backward into the 
arms of her old nurse. 

Was this, then, to be the end of his young love dream 
— that love dream that had seemed to him to be destined 
to follow so serene and smooth a course? He remem- 
bered with a pang of remorse how sometimes half- 
formed thoughts or fancies had swept across his mind 
that the course of his love was too uneventful, too fair, 
too unruffled. His feelings of vague discontent and 
longing for more excitement had really been but the 
merest ripple upon the calm surface of his life. But 
now in the shipwreck of his happiness he looked back, 
reproaching himself. Were there envious Fates, then, 
who overruled man's destiny to his own destruction, 
and because he may have sighed for a slight breeze took 
hellish delight in sending a hurricane to dash him upon 
the rocks and shatter him to pieces? Surely this was 
a pagan notion that no man now could hold for true, but 
in times past there must have been bitter experiences 
of such sudden shifts of fortune to make men set up the 
idea that they must propitiate the Fates by the sacri- 
fice of something valuable. Yet in the very telling of 
the story of such sacrifice its uselessness was impressed 
upon the hearer. Polycrates couldn't save himself. 
Fate hurled back his priceless ring, determined to be 
revenged on him in more direful ways for his too great 
happiness and good fortune. So it was with Heaton 
to-day. J\lan has learned much, but not how to save 
himself from the strokes of ill fortune that seem to be 
stored up and held in readiness for all time. The most 
that philosophy or religion can teach is simply either to 
endure w4th fortitude or to bow the head in humility. 
Man's life track is marked out beforehand for him, but 
marked with clumsy disregard of the fate of him who 
has to travel it. There are no danger signals up nor 
beacon lights burning at the deadly turning points — 



198 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

nothing to show him where lies the hidden danger, the 
after-efi'ects of which will be so terrible. He is bidden 
follow the track in blind helplessness, often, no doubt, 
passing close to perils that would have been fatal, only 
he slipped unconsciously by just on the safe side, but 
sometimes falling a victim because, just as unconscious- 
ly, he veered to the danger side. The dividing line is 
so narrow that none can see it, and so mankind in blind- 
ness, but ever in hope, pursues his course along the 
track of life, where many, long before the goal is 
reached, stumble and fall to rise no more. 

Thus musing on his own fate Heaton rode up to the 
bars, where he was roused from his gloomy meditations 
by the two young darkies Pete and Moses, who ran out 
to take his horse. They were accustomed to his silence, 
doubly accentuated during this season of mourning and 
doubt, but they glanced at him curiously, for with the 
sharpness of slaves, who are wont to read every look in 
their master's face and to shape their course accordingly, 
they perceived, as it were, an added line of sternness 
about his mouth. 

" Tell Sambo to get out the wagon and the brown 
horses. I am going into Tecumseh again to-day, and I 
shall want him to bring home the wagon. I'm not 
coming back any more," said Heaton as he gave his 
bridle rein to Pete. 

" Whar yo' gwine, mas'r? " asked Moses, venturing 
upon the extreme audacity of a direct question, since 
the extraordinary circumstances seemed to warrant lib- 
erties being taken. 

" I'm going to the war, to be killed most likely," 
answered Heaton bitterly. 

The young darkies instantly set up a lugubrious 
howl, not unmelodious in the distance, their official 
signal of grief, much resorted to by negroes on the occa- 
sion of a death. Heaton walked away to his cabin to 



OFF TO THE WARS 199 

make his rapid i^reparations and to write a letter of 
farewell to Nancy. The news of his departure and the 
object of his going soon became known, and a vast 
amount of howling resulted, for the negroes felt in duty 
bound to mourn for the " mas'r." They could not for- 
get the absolute justice and unvarying kindness with 
which he had always treated them. Very soon their 
native desire to make a song and a dance of everything 
began to assert itself. Words slipped into the bowlings, 
which became more musical. The tendency to chant 
their emotions and dance to them is indicative of a 
very primitive stage of human development. The idea 
clashes with our notions of what is seemly, because we 
have relegated singing and dancing, especially dancing, 
only to moments of the most frivolous leisure, but 
among the ruder races of mankind dancing and sing- 
ing hold quite another position. The dancing dervishes 
are far from being animated by frivolity, and the Irish 
peasant's keen at a funeral is a sign of deep woe. The 
keen, or melodious howl in a minor key, fittingly ex- 
presses their grief at the death of their beloved one. It 
strikes us as uncouth, because it is not the custom for 
the rigid self-contained Anglo-Saxon to howl with any- 
thing but rage. 

The negroes perhaps brought their mournful death 
cadences with them from Africa, and nothing that has 
taken place in their history from that time forward is 
sufficiently exhilarating to cause them to change their 
songs into a major key. I know of no sound more in- 
laden with sorrow and mourning than that of real 
negroes singing their real songs. These songs are rude 
and violate every rule known to our rhymesters, but they 
carry a burden of sadness in their cadence which would 
make the reputation of half a dozen poets could they 
incorporate it into their carefully polished elegies. 

" Is there any one dying among the negroes that 



200 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

they sing like that? " asked Nancy, hearing the wailing 
and recognising it as a sign of woe. 

" No, Miss Nancy, dar ain't no nigga dyin' dish 
time. Dey's on'y singin' de good-bye song fo' Mas'r 
Charlie. He's gwine off to de war, an' he won't nebber 
come back no mo'. He's gwine ter lay down his life fo' 
de niggas an' free de slaves." 

Aunt Monin had no authority for any of these state- 
ments except of course that Heaton had volunteered 
for a soldier, but she was a strong partisan, and her 
affection for " Mas'r Charlie " prompted her to place 
him in the most affecting light possible. 

" Oh, not yet, not now! " exclaimed Nancy, suddenly 
brought face to face with the thought that Heaton was 
going from her, and that she would see him no more. 

" Yes, Miss Nancy, he's gwine for shu'. Sambo done 
hitch up de brown bosses in de wagon for ter take him 
'way to die." 

This was pure hyperbole, but Nancy did not wait 
to reason. All her love rose up in her heart, overwhelm- 
ing every other recollection. Charlie was going off to 
the wars, and she loved him so. 

Ah, me! In those years how many times in every 
village, in every State, was the same tragedy repeated! 
Soldiers going away amid hurried farewells, and broken- 
hearted girls sobbing out their hearts for the lovers who 
might never come back to them. 

The negroes who were clustering around the wagon 
and talking to Sambo were startled by the sudden flash 
of Nancy, who sped past them, her dark hair streaming 
down her back, her black eyes glittering unnaturally in 
her white face. She went straight from her door to 
Heaton's little cabin and entered breathless. He had 
finished his brief letter to her, and was standing up put- 
ting on his cartridge belt when, without a note of warn- 
ing, Nancy came in. 



OFF TO THE WARS 201 

It was not a moment for words. Their hearts were 
too full for that slow and imperfect medium of com- 
munication. Instinctively they fell back upon Nature's 
simple language. Nancy threw herself sobbing upon 
Heaton's bosom, and he clasped her in his arms, kissing 
her dark hair. After some moments she raised her 
tearful eyes and said under her breath, " Are you really 
going, Charlie? " 

" Yes, dearest. It is best so. It is my expiation. 
If I come back, will you forgive me by and bye? If I 
never come back, will you forgive me now ? " 

There was forgiveness, there was despair, in the 
cry with which Nancy again threw her arms around 
his neck and laid her soft cheek against the cartridges 
and pressed those destructive objects into her tender 
flesh. Heaton patted the quivering form and in a chok- 
ing voice tried to comfort her, but what comfort was 
possible at such a moment? So she laid her head down 
and wept, as hundreds of others were weeping that 
night and clinging around their lovers' necks in an 
agony of hopeless despair. 

" De wagon's ready, mas'r, an' de bosses is stompin' 
der hoofs off," said Sambo, poking his black face in 
through the door. 

" Send Aunt Monin here," said Heaton, not daring 
to leave poor Nancy alone in the supreme moment of 
her despair. 

The old woman came quickly enough. Her loving 
heart told her why she was wanted. 

" Take care of her, Aunt Monin," said he, putting 
Nancy into the arms that had sheltered her since baby- 
hood. 

" Honey-chile, trust in de Lo'd dat he watch over 
Mas'r Charlie in de midst o' de roar o' de battle. Pray 
to de Lo'd, chile." 

Nancy knelt, burying her face in her hands in silent 



202 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

misery; her dark hair fell around her as a veil. The old 
negress, standing over her, raised her wrinkled face up- 
ward and, stretching out her hands, said: 

" Lo'd, have mercy 'pon all those in sorrow an' 'flic- 
tion an' comfort der hearts." 

" Amen! " said Heaton as he softly left the room. 
And that was the last image of Nancy that he carried 
away with him to the war, the image of her kneeling at 
her nurse's feet, with her dark hair shading her face 
and her form vibrating with sobs. 

The negroes broke out afresh in their wailing as the 
wagon moved off. It was their farewell. 

" Mas'r done gone to de war, 
He nebber come back no mo', 
An' de tree frog sing on his grave, 
'Way down in olc Virginny, oli ! " 

The rise and fall of the cadence could still be heard 
long after Heaton had got beyond the reach of the very 
lugubrious dirge which sent quite a shiver of forebod- 
ina: over him. 



CHAPTER XVII 

BUSHWHACKEES 

That same spring month which saw the rebellion 
begin on the banks of the Potomac let loose the dogs 
of war all along the Missouri line. War indeed had 
existed in a spasmodic form for full five years or more, 
but it was not called by that name; and the raids on one 
side and the other were extolled or decried according 
to the bias of the people engaged in them or of the 
sufferers from them. Such a training made very relent- 
less soldiers when the time came to give the raiders on 
both sides that title. Quiet settlers on the border aban- 
doned their farms, for Missouri was just on the dividing 
line between North and South, and while the northern 
half of it remained in the Union, the southern portion 
sympathized with the secession States. According as 
the fortune of war swayed and changed, so the line of 
demarcation was pushed farther up toward St. Louis 
or was rolled back to Arkansas. Such a land was no 
place for peaceful farming folk; it was much too dis- 
turbed for them. Men don't care to plant corn, if the 
field is to be used for a battle ground, to be ridden over 
by the living and cumbered by the dead, when the crop 
is half grown. Nor do they relish raising horses, if they 
are likely to be taken when old enough for the saddle, 
even if paid a good price for them in worthless Confed- 
erate paper. Thus the rich land near the line became 
deserted by men, and the deer roamed in and rested 
14 203 



204 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

beneath the shade of peach trees heavy hiden with velvet 
fruit which no one was there to gather. The hogs, too, 
let loose out of their once narrow pens, got thin from 
lack of fattening food, but the sinews of their legs re- 
sumed jjower to move their bodies once more, and swift 
as the flight of a hound was the rush of the black 
bristling hogs crashing through the tangled underwood. 
They enjoyed the peaches and drove out the deer with 
many a grunt of deep satisfaction as they munched up 
the fallen fruit, extracting the last invigorating whiff 
of prussic acid from out the cracked stone before swal- 
lowing it. Oh, those were gay times for the hogs down 
in Missouri when the farmers had fled and left their 
orchards to the swine! But it was less cheerful after the 
first frost had sent down the shower of shrivelled and 
sweet-tasting persimmons, too soon to be devoured, leav- 
ing nothing behind but frozen ground and acorns lying 
under the leaves. Then the hogs had to root and bur- 
row and toil from morn till night to get food, and all 
the while they got thinner and thinner, and the sinews 
of their legs stood out like whipcord. They had not 
much weight to carry, but their weak legs were not able 
for the lightened load. So, wondering perchance at the 
change that had come over the world, now all cornless 
for them, the hogs rooted away in the woods and got 
lankier day by day. 

Along with the deer and the hogs another class of 
creatures arose and swarmed upon the Missouri line. 
These were the " bushwhackers," a name full of mean- 
ing that needs little elucidation. When society comes 
to the boil there is a lot of scum that rises to the top. 
The bushwhackers were the Missouri scum. Bands of 
reckless men under a yet more reckless leader used to 
collect and dash across the line into Kansas to catch 
runaway negroes and do whatever damage they could 
to those who protected or harboured the escaped slaves. 



BUSHWHACKERS 205 

It was the counter-blast to the Jay-Hawkers, and the 
last effort of expiring slavery. 

Among the leaders who made for themselves a name 
in this wild warfare none was better known and none 
more Justly feared than the border ruffian Quantrell. 
He came from no one knew where, and he went no one 
knew whither, but he left always a broad trail of burning 
houses behind him to show his path in Kansas. Winter 
and summer, day and night, sometimes in the north 
near Kansas City, sometimes as far down as Fort Scott, 
Quantrell was known to lead his furious raids, gathering 
up negroes and destroying houses as he passed. He 
never ill used the women or molested young children — 
that is white women and children, but he had a short 
sharp way with men, even white ones, which often ended 
with a rifle bullet. He rapidly built up a reputation for 
dare-devil bravery, which, combined with his severity, 
soon made his name a terror to all within reach, and 
one never knew how far his reach might eventually ex- 
tend. At first he confined himself to operations within 
a day's ride of the line, but as his fame spread and the 
number of his followers increased he extended the area 
of his influence. No one within twenty miles of the 
line dared call himself safe. 

The tales of Quantrell and his doings spread far over 
the land, and assuredly lost nothing on the way in the 
telling. At the first hint that he might be near the 
negroes took to the woods in every direction, remaining 
for days together cowering down under the brushwood, 
for no negro who had ever looked on the great bush- 
whacker's face had come back to tell what Quantrell 
was like. If he could not carry off or drive the negroes 
before him back into slavery he would deliberately 
shoot them. Never, under any circumstances, did he 
leave a free negro behind him, and few were those who 
managed to escape out of his clutches once he headed 



206 THE JAY-EAWKERS 

them toward Missouri. Small wonder, therefore, if 
they dreaded him as the chicken dreads the hawk, and 
that they should, like frightened chickens, flee under 
cover at the first hint of his presence in their neighbour- 
hood. 

The name and fame of Quantrell had, of course, 
reached Carthage, and the little colony of negroes who 
lived there under Nancy's sheltering wing; but they 
felt secure in the distance which separated them from 
Missouri. When Nancy heard accounts of how he had 
swooped down and carried off negroes from near Law- 
rence itself, and taken them away from the midst of a 
determined and well-armed free-state population, she 
blessed the lucky chance which had brought her and 
them to Carthage far out of harm's way. Whenever the 
negroes came to tell her of some fresh raid, which very 
certainly lost nothing in dramatic horror on passing 
through their minds, Nancy would always say at the end 
of the recital how thankful she was that they had Law- 
rence between them and harm, and were safe. 

The negroes themselves, however, did not feel the 
same sense of security. Their lives were one long dread 
and terror for fear of being caught and brought back 
into Missouri. Many a time as they sat around their 
fire roasting their ears of corn for supper they would 
talk over the chances and alarms of a raid. The sub- 
ject seemed to have a fascination for them. 

" Yo', Sambo, whar'll yo' hide when de bushwhack- 
ers come 'long hyar? " Pete would ask, with his beady 
eyes fixed on his own ear of corn for fear that Moses 
might grab it, under the impression that it was a better 
one than his or was in a more favourable place for 
being thoroughly roasted without burning. 

" Dish nigga ain't agwine ter hide," Sambo replied 
with stern scorn. 

" Whar yo' gwine ter git then ? " 



BUSHWHACKERS 207 

" I'se gwine ter fight," Sambo answered with a 
thump on his chest, rolling his eyes until the whites 
showed all around. This mightily pleased the small 
darkies, who admired nothing so much as courage, of 
which they themselves never exhibited a trace at any 
moment in their lives. M'linder admired it, too, for 
whose sole benefit, if the truth be told. Sambo was thus 
boasting. 

" La, Sambo, yo' ain't got no gun; yo' can't fight 
nohow," M'linder said, belittling his valour. M'linder 
was quite aware of Sambo's admiration, but loved to 
appear to depreciate his prowess, a peculiarity often ob- 
served in women, whatever may happen to be the colour 
of their skin. 

" I kin fight 'thout ary gun. Thar ain't nothin' I 
can't fight with," replied Sambo boastfully, " when I'se 
got ladies ter defen'." 

" Lawk, how yo' does run 'long! " said M'linder, 
hardly able to conceal her admiration for the hero. 

" I jess take chunk o' wood an' bust Quantrell's 
head off kerflop," exclaimed Pete, excited by all this 
talk. 

" Yah, yo' go 'long! " exclaimed Aunt Monin scorn- 
fully. "Young rooster make mo' racket an' crowin' 
dan de hen dat lay de egg, but de ole woman don' neb- 
ber go ter look whar he's bin a-settin'." 

Pete subsided under the laugh called up by this 
rebuke. 

" If Mas'r Heaton he bin hyar, he done build up a 
fort an' bring de sojers," remarl^d Moses, who had seen 
some in Tecumseh once and had never recovered from 
the amazement which their shiny swords had created in 
his mind. 

" Yo' shet yer mouf ; yo' dunno nuffin 'bout sojers 
an' forts an' fightin'," observed Sambo, anxious to mo- 
nopolize the talk as well as th¥ Admiration of the circle. 



208 THE JAY-UAWKERS 

" I'se gwine ter sharpen de ole axe mighty sharp au' 
grin' it to de razor edge on de grin'stone." 

"Whatfo'?" asked Pete. 

Sambo looked scornfully at him and remained con- 
temptuously silent. 

" Speck yo' gwine ter chop off de head o' ole man 
Quantrell," said M'linder exult ingly. 

Sambo, as became a great hero, said nothing to this 
flattering assumption, but pulled his ear of corn from 
before the fire, rubbed a sprinkle of salt into the long 
luscious rows of grains, and began thoughtfully to 
gnaw at it with his strong white teeth. This was the sig- 
nal for all the other negroes to begin, and nothing was 
heard but the grinding of their powerful teeth, much as 
if they had been a lot of black ponies at a feed of corn. 

The slow year dragged wearily along at Carthage, 
and never since the day when he had closed the door 
on her, kneeling at Aunt Monin's feet, had Heaton 
sent a word to Nancy. She did not know whether he 
was dead or alive. She did not even know where he 
had gone. She read the papers with eagerness, and 
followed the lists of killed, wounded, and missing ac- 
cording as they appeared after the various battles; at 
first with many a heartache, wondering what was the 
history of different ones whose names for some reason 
or other struck her fancy, but soon this feeling wore off. 
She had no more sorrow to expend vaguely on names 
that carried no personal image with them. Her heart 
used to beat wildly when she came across the name of 
Heaton, as she did more than once, even when coupled 
with initials not belonging to the one whose fate so 
deeply interested her. Once she read among the list of 
wounded, " Captain Charles Heaton, slightly," and in 
the next list he appeared as severely wounded, and she 
at once made up her mind that it was Charlie, and that 
he was going to die. 



BUSHWHACKERS 209 

Of course Nancy talked to Aunt Monin about this 
new cause of grief. She talked to her about everything. 
She was the one companion the young girl had, but 
nothing that she could say was likely to upset the old 
woman's firm convictions on this subject. 

" Mas'r Charlie warn't agwine ter die. He was 
gwine ter come back to 'em. 'Cause why? He was 
'p'inted to save Miss Nancy, like he done save 'em all in 
de snow in de winter time." 

Vfiien Aunt Monin had once adopted a particular 
theory of life as an article of her faith, as in the case of 
other teachers greater than she, it was impossible to 
make her give any heed to anything that seemed to con- 
flict with her theories. She had made up her mind on 
the subject of Heaton's return, and was unvarying in her 
steadfast belief. In her secret heart Nancy got a great 
deal of consolation out of this positiveness of conviction, 
and used frequently to say things in order to draw from 
Aunt Monin a renewed expression of her belief that 
" Mas'r Charlie was coming home soon as de wa' over." 

" When Mas'r Charlie come home from de wa', he'll 
be mad dat de ole fence roun' de paster ain't men'ed up," 
she would say when her eagle eye detected a fence rail 
broken or thrown down. " Mas'r Charlie he powerful 
'tickler, an' have his fence mighty peart an' strong, dat 
he is, fo' shu'." 

Observations like these were a great comfort to 
Nancy and seemed to put new life and hope into her. 
Aunt Monin's love for her honey-chile had taught her 
how best to comfort and console her during these long 
weary months of anxiety and loneliness. 

The cabin which Heaton had made use of for his 
dwelling place had remained unoccupied since he left. 
Nancy could not bear to let the negroes have it, so it re- 
mained locked up, and she kept the key. It contained 
nothing except a few of his old coats, which still hung 



210 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

on pegs against the wall. The meagre furniture Nancy 
had removed into her own house. Aunt Monin ob- 
jected to this empty house remaining unused. When 
the rats got into the corncrib she suggested that the 
meal bins, at all events, should be put into that cabin, 
for then the dog could be shut up with them, and he 
would soon make a clearance of the rats. This was ac- 
cordingly done, and Nancy still kept the key in her pos- 
session, all the more necessary now since it didn't do to 
let negroes have the run of any food, even if it 
were only corn meal; they were so wastefully extrava- 
gant whenever there was plenty. 

Somewhere toward the end of a very hot Aiigust 
John P. Ridgway, who had been doing a thriving busi- 
ness in the matter of selling cavalry horses to the Fed- 
eral Government, found himself at Tecumseh, and, re- 
membering his friends at Carthage, thought he would 
look them up. He had heard nothing of them since 
some time in the spring, when Heaton had written to 
him about the coming marriage, and he had sent a cor- 
dial letter of felicitation in reply. Riding up to the bars 
on the afternoon in question, he was pleased to see 
Nancy standing in her doorway, much the same as he 
had seen her stand on that winter's night six months be- 
fore. He came forward with a bright smile, and said, 
in a loud and hearty voice : 

"Well, Mrs. Heaton, howdy? Getting 'long pretty 
spry, eh? " 

Nancy blushed painfully up to the roots of her hair 
and retreated back a step or two, without making any 
reply to this salutation. 

Ridgway saw that he had made some mistake, but 
he was a man of not very delicate feeling, so he contin- 
ued, not one whit abashed: 

"Old man dead? Is he? Dear, dear, I am sorry, so 
I am." 



BUSHWHACKERS 211 

" Mas'r Charlie done volunteer f o' de wa' long while 
back, mas'r. We dunno whar he be, an' Miss Nancy 
Overton she done live hyar an' run de farm all by her- 
se'f," said Aunt Monin, coming to the rescue of a some- 
what difficult situation. Eidgway gave a prolonged 
whistle, then a good stare at Nancy, watching the rich 
colour die slowly out of her face, leaving it somewhat 
wan and pale looking. 

"Well, I swan!" he ejaculated after a few mo- 
ments' profound meditation. " He wasn't so sot on 
fighting as that. I never should have guessed he'd been 
the one to volunteer, anyhow." 

" Why not? " asked Nancy quickly. " He was the 
first man to respond to the call in this neighbourhood." 
There was a ring of exultation in her voice that did not 
escape her visitor. 

" Do tell! Then he's gone for the three years' en- 
listment, you bet. The ninety-day men are back a good 
while. Some of 'em got enough of fighting in their 
ninety days, I can tell you." 

" Mr. Heaton will not come back until the war is 
over, and this sinful blot of slavery wiped off the land," 
said Nancy. 

Eidg-way looked at her narrowly from between his 
half-closed eyelids. 

" Going to wait for him? " he inquired slowly. 

"Yes, I am going to wait for him till he comes 
back," said Nancy, meeting the look unflinchingly and 
replying to the unmistakable meaning of his question 
in an unmistakable manner. 

" And if he don't never come back? Folks do get 
killed in war, you know," continued Eidgway, still look- 
ing at her in the same intent way. 

" Then I'll wait for him all my life, and we shall 
meet beyond the grave," replied Nancy with deep ear- 
nest voice. 



212 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

"Well, I swan! " said Eidgway, after which he re- 
lapsed into silence for some time. " What beats me is 
why the blamed coon volunteered," he remarked at 
length in a tone of puzzled commiseration. " He 
warn't fond of fighting I know for certain. Charlie 
Heaton warn't tough enough for that kind o' work. 
He had a heap o' notions 'bout right and wrong and jus- 
tice and such like fooling. Notions only gets in a 
man's way when he's a soldier; when there's fighting 
work to be done he'd better get shut o' poetry and fine 
ideas, I can tell you. Charlie never could do that. He 
was a powerful soft-hearted fellow for a Kansas man. I 
never see his beat for that. There was a fellow down in 
Missouri he killed in a raid. All fair and square, you 
know — killed him in front, as a gentleman should; no 
sneaking round from behind a tree. And t'other fellow 
had a gun too, only he warn't quick enough to get the 
drop on him. Well, you wouldn't believe. Miss Over- 
ton, but that soft-hearted boy was always thinking 
about that shooting and grieving over it. He told me 
the whole story one night when we were out bufl'alo 
hunting together, and I did laugh, I can tell you. The 
idea of such a little thing as that coming into a fellow's 
head and making him uneasy! Queer, warn't it? " 

When Eidgway looked around for Nancy's answer 
he found, to his surprise, that she had left the room. 
She must have slipped away when he was laughing at 
the recollection of Heaton's absurd notions. Aunt 
Monin came to say that her young mistress was suddenly 
seized with faintness, and that she could not see him 
again. The young man was sincerely sorry to hear this, 
and left many messages of commiseration with the 
old negress when he rode away. He was sorely puzzled 
at the position of affairs at Carthage, and when he had 
reached the rising ground from which he had looked 
around him in the winter and commented ujjon Heaton's 



BUSHWHACKERS 213 

remarkable euteness he again pulled up and surveyed 
the scene thoughtfully. 

" Volunteered in his wedding week. The dog- 
gauned cuss! " he observed. Then^ after a long look 
around he added : " And she's going to wait for him. 
The darned fools, both! " 

With that he rode off to Tecumseh to see after his 
cavalry colts. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

DELENDA EST CAETHAGO! 

The years of the war were long, long years. It 
would be hard to say whether the hours dragged more 
slowly for those left at home, living their lives in anx- 
ious suspense, or for the men at the front, Avith the dan- 
gers and fierce excitements of battle alternating with 
the drudgery of camp life and the suffering of the hos- 
pital tent. War as seen from afar is mainly a series of 
pictorial effects in illustrated newspapers, finished off 
by the triumphant return of the battered battalions, 
more glorious and popular in their rags than in the 
finest parade smartness of a birthday review. War, as 
seen at first hand, presents a very different aspect. 
Happily, no imagination is vivid enough to make us 
realize an actua:l battle, or even the details of a slight 
skirmish. The first sight of even the merest fringe of 
war is such as to leave an impression that nothing will 
ever afterward efface. The coldest heart that ever pul- 
sated beats quicker at the sight of a regiment marching 
to the front. There they go bravely forward, following 
their flag and their music with bright eyes gleaming and 
heads erect. Poor atoms in a regiment, how many of 
you will ever come back? And if you do, will your eyes 
then be bright and your gallant heads erect? No. You 
will crawl home, many of you, poor maimed creatures 
with the vigour of manhood forever crushed out. 

The war of the secession was a long, fierce struggle^ 
214 



DELENDA EST CARTHAGO! 215 

lasting over months and years. It was none of those 
campaigns of a few weeks which nowadays are some- 
times called wars. It was of the old-fashioned fighting 
kind of war, when men met in mortal combat. It 
was a bloody war, for both sides fought with courage 
and determination. The South sent up its men in 
thousands until there were none left but old ones at 
home; and the North sent down its men in thousands, 
having plenty more to draw from. There was an end- 
less procession of young manhood converging on Rich- 
mond for years and years, and of that procession only 
very few ever got safely home again. Richmond was 
like a furnace, said a Southern mother, a roaring, raging 
furnace, and the young men were hurled into it like 
logs of wood; and out of that furnace, when the great 
conflagration was over, there came forth but a few 
ashes. 

There was no spot in all the wide area of the United 
States so remote or so secluded that it could hide itself 
away from the war. If, happily, it was far enough re- 
moved from Mason and Dixon's line to be forever be- 
yond sound of trumpet call and rifle shot, at least there 
were within its borders hearts that throbbed with anx- 
ious love for those at the front. Every village and ham- 
let, nay, almost every house, was in direct communica- 
tion with the army by .the universal connecting tele- 
graph of human love. After every battle and every 
skirmish, how those poor human telegraph threads 
throbbed with the anguish of palpitating anxiety, or too 
often with the certainty of hopeless despair! 

Carthage, away off on the rolling prairie, far from 
any neighbour, set down there in the midst of wild un- 
tranunelled Nature — Carthage too had its private wire 
to the front, along which Nancy's heartaches used to 
pulsate, as she nightly prayed for that dear life which 
was more than all the world to her, and which had been 



216 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

offered up for her country's sake. Yet all the while life 
seemed to flow smoothly forward for Nancy and her 
little colony of negroes. At last she began to see that 
as far as material success was concerned she was succeed- 
ing. Two whole years had elapsed since Charlie Heaton 
had gone away. It was spring again, and Nancy was 
full of the manifold duties of getting forward with her 
crop. She understood more about work now. She had 
turned the corner of her difficulties. For two years her 
seed sowings had been blessed with bountiful harvest- 
ings, and now the rich purple prairie soil turned up 
broad acres of ploughed land to the life-giving rays of 
the warm spring sunshine. Nothing had begun to 
sprout as yet, but there was a sense of growing in the 
very air. The first gi-eat bluebottle fly had buzzed 
around Nancy as she stood in the south doorway, bask- 
ing in the genial warmth of the sun. She welcomed 
him and rejoiced over his cheerful buzz. One fly is wel- 
come as a harbinger of spring. WTien they come in 
batches of a million and a half at a time the welcome, 
which would have been cordial if concentrated upon a 
single individual, does not suffice to go round. 

It was on one of these warm spring days, when the 
air was soft and the prairie had just begun to clothe it- 
self in tender green, that Nancy was returning home 
from a neighbour's farm some ten miles away to the 
west of her house. She had been to get some water- 
melon seeds of a kind warranted to thrive in a dry 
country, which she intended to plant in generous pro- 
fusion for the benefit of the negroes, who revel in water- 
melons. The days was bright and clear, and, as the 
sun was at her back, it being already late in the -after- 
noon, she was able to see with singular distinctness. 
Her house stood high up on the open prairie, unshad- 
owed by a single tree, and was visible for miles around. 
As she rode along, Nancy became aware, when still some 



DELENDA EST CARTHAGO! 217 

three miles off, that there was a certain amount of move- 
ment around the buildings. Dim shadows appeared to 
traverse the brightness of the house where the sun shone 
full upon the western side. Nancy, like all healthy- 
Western girls, had keen sight. Her black eyes were not 
troubled by following the crooked and crabbed out- 
lines of print, nor did sitting up late tend to dim 
their brightness. Therefore, as she rode homeward she 
amused herself by scrutinizing the houses carefully, try- 
ing to make out what was going forward during her ab- 
sence.. What puzzled her most was an occasional bright 
flash, as if some child were whisking about a looking- 
glass or somebody were kicking about tin milk pans 
upon which the sun was beaming steadily. She could 
not make it out. The flashings became brighter and 
more puzzling the longer she looked at them. 

At length she pulled up and took a steady sight. 
Yes, there were undoubtedly a number of persons mov- 
ing about casting the puzzling shadows. She was 
vexed. It was unpardonable of the negroes to leave 
their work and prance about like that just because her 
back was turned. She felt incensed at their dishonest 
laziness; they had learned some of the virtues of free- 
dom by this time, and should know better. She rode 
smartly forward for half a mile and then stopped once 
more. The moving figures were not negroes. They 
were men on horseback, and in great numbers, too. 
The flashings must be from rifle barrels or swords. 
Nothing but steel flashed back the sun's level rays in 
so vivid a manner. 

Soldiers! What were they doing at her house? 
Nancy wondered, and again rode forward. The move- 
ment ceased around the house. A black mass was col- 
lecting at the bars. Somehow they didn't give the im- 
pression of soldiers. There seemed too much of a helter- 
skelter confusion for the movements of trained troops. 



218 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

They were riding away. That was just as well. Nancy 
slackened her speed. She did not particularly care to 
meet a band of soldiers. Sometimes they were noisy 
and not especially under control, as, for instance, that 
unruly Irish regiment encamped east of Tecumseh. So 
she loitered along in order to let the men get clear away 
before she returned. She would hear all about the visit 
from Aunt Monin and the rest the moment she got back. 

Suddenly she started in her saddle. What was that? 
Columns of blue curling smoke rising from among the 
corn stacks, eddying over the hayrick, and issuing from 
the windows of her house. 

Nancy laid her rawhide whip across her horse's flank 
and rode madly toward the house. The blue columns 
got thicker and thicker, belching upward toward the 
sky in heavy spiral masses. Fast and furiously as she 
rode, however, the flames were quicker than she was. 
By the time she got to the bars the flames were curling 
up forty feet over her corn stacks and the wicked red 
tongues were licking the lintel of the kitchen door, 
while the stable and henhouse were both alight, the 
maddened fowls flying with croaks of terror before the 
fierce blaze. 

Not a soul was to be seen, and no sound but the roar- 
ing of the flames. Her frightened horse refused to pass 
the bars and snorted loudly at the fearful sight. Tying 
him hurriedly to the fence, Nancy rushed to the cabins, 
which showed as yet no signs of fire. The first she went 
to was Charlie Heaton's long vacant house. The door 
was burst open, and a pile of shucks and straw in the 
middle of the floor showed that the enemy had been at 
work there too. The cornshucks had been set on fire, 
but there being nothing else for them to burn they had 
gone out, leaving only a blackened heap of smouldering 
ashes behind. These Nancy scattered and stamped out 
with her feet; then she went to the next cabin, but there 



DELENDA EST CARTHAGO! 219 

she was met by a burst of flame. The work had been 
more thoroughly done, because the kindling fire of corn- 
shucks had been supplemented by the clothes and fur- 
niture and bedding in the house. The cabins were all 
alight, while the air was full of flying, burning fluff 
from the hay and corn stacks. She could not stay in 
Heaton's cabin on account of the sufi'ocating smoke 
which collected in it. She was driven to take refuge in 
the newly ploughed field. The sun sank below the 
western horizon, and the darkening evening sky was 
lighted up by the glare of the burning buildings. 

Hour after hour, all through that spring night, 
Nancy sat in the cornfield, watching her home burn it- 
self out to the last cinder. The only building that re- 
mained standing was Heaton's little cabin, and into this 
she crept in the gray hours of the morning, shivering 
with cold and the exhaustion of those hours of melan- 
choly watching. She huddled Heaton's old working 
coat around herself and lay down on the floor, where, 
in sheer misery, she cried herself to sleep amid the 
blackened ruins of her house and home. Hours after- 
ward she was aroused by hearing voices. Frightened at 
the thought of human beings near her, she crept to the 
window and peeped out. A couple of men stood there, 
whom she recognised as settlers from beyond the creek. 
Accordingly, she ventured forth from her hiding place. 

"By gosh! be that you, Miss Overton? We 'lowed 
Quantrell bed lit out with the whole on yer." 

" I suppose it was Quantrell," said Nancy wearily. 

" You may lay it were that same. Thar ain't nary 
'nother 'ud do such a sight o' burnin' as him. Thar's a 
broad trail o' burnin' 'hind him, anyhow. The all-fired 
cuss has lighted a heap o' houses the whole way down to 
the Missouri line." 

" All my negroes are gone too," said Nancy with a 
shiver. " Not one is left, not even old Aunt Monin." 
15 



220 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

She fairly broke down and sobbed aloud. The men 
looked very sorrowful. 

" We'll hev to riz up an' hang every man in Missouri 
as far as the Osage," said one of the men, by way of 
offering the comfort of revenge to Nancy. " This 
hyar sort o' cavortin' roun' an' burnin' out folks lies got 
ter be shut down." 

" There are soldiers in Tecumseh and Topeka; why 
didn't they stop Quantrell? " asked Nancy, with the ig- 
norance of a woman. 

" Sojers," observed one of the men, Wilson by name, 
" ain't much good for catching bushwhackers. They're 
sorter slow an' solemn ter ride with. They ain't spry 
'nough for that kinder work, an' they lies ter git counted 
an' mounted satisfact'ry, an' a heap o' foolin' hes ter be 
gone through 'fore they're ready ter begin. For ter 
catch up with bushwhackers you hes ter be mighty 
limber, an' ready ter jump inter yer saddle an' sling up 
yer rifle quick as a cat can wink her eye." 

" You bet that's how it'll have to lie done, if it ever 
is done," assented his companion. " This here farm is 
'most busted up, marm. I don't calc'late you'll be 'low- 
ing to stay this ways any more." 

" I don't know what to do. I haven't a friend that I 
can go to in all the world, and no money now. Every- 
thing is gone," said Nancy piteously, her great eyes full 
of tears. 

Poor child, it was hard after all her brave attempts 
to do her duty! Destiny was too strong for her; she 
must give up. She grieved for the destruction of her 
home, around which her heart had begun to twine in af- 
fectionate interest, but what she felt most deeply was 
the fate of her negroes. She had sacrificed everything 
in order to free them and to do what she could to re- 
store to them the boon of freedom from which they had 
been so long debarred, and now, just as success seemed 



DELENDA EST CARTHAGO! 221 

to crown her efforts, came this crushing blow. They 
were torn away from her by a band of robbers who 
would exult in their sufferings. They were now in the 
hands of the most relentless enemies of their race, 
and she who had loved them so well was powerless to 
save them. 

Wilson and his companion tried hard to induce 
Nancy to leave the blackened ruins of her home and 
come away at once with them. Each in turn offered her 
his own horse to ride, declaring he could walk easy 
enough. She decided to remain one day there, however, 
taking shelter in the one cabin that was left among the 
ruins of Carthage. She said that perhaps her horse 
would come back, and that she wanted to be there to 
catch him. She referred, of course, to the one she had 
tied to the bars the evening before, but who had broken 
loose and run off in terror at the flames. She said she 
hoped the horse would come back, but what she really 
hoped was that possibly some of the negroes might man- 
age to escape from their captors, in which case they 
would be sure to make for Carthage, and she wanted to 
be there to receive them. It was a foolish, unreasoning 
hope, but she covild not resign herself all in a moment 
to the bitter thought of losing Aunt Monin forever. 
The two settlers left her regretfully after doing what 
little they could to make her comfortable. They made 
a fire for her — there was plenty of charred timber about 
— and saw that she could make herself some bread, there 
being some meal left in the bins. This done, they took 
their departure, Wilson promising to come for her with 
his wagon the very next day, when she would have to 
come home with him no matter whether the horse had 
returned or not. He was a poor man, a struggling West- 
ern settler with few cattle and a large family, biit he 
told Nancy she was welcome to come and stay at his 
house a year if she liked. When real affliction over- 



222 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

takes one there is nothing can exceed the sterling kind- 
ness of a prairie settler. There is no passing by on the 
other side on the prairie. When a traveller has fallen 
among thieves the next man that comes along offers 
him help with the best heart and the worst grammar 
possible. 

Nancy slept tliat niglit on the floor of Ileaton's 
cabin, covered by one of his old coats. In the middle 
of the night her somewhat nervous slumbers were 
broken by the sound of a wailing voice. It was a wild, 
unearthly sound, and Nancy started up full of alarm in 
a moment. Everything she had ever heard of in the 
way of terrors, natural or supernatural, rushed into her 
mind with exceeding clearness. Indeed, she was in a 
sufficiently helpless and unprotected state to warrant 
her feeling uncomfortable at the thought of there being 
strange persons about. She was absolutely alone, half 
a dozen miles from the nearest neighbour, and without 
even a horse to carry her into safety by flight. She re- 
pented of her determination to wait for her negroes at 
Carthage. Wh}'- had she been so mad as to stay here 
in this deserted cabin? Why had she not gone away 
with Wilson into safety while yet there was time? Her 
heart thumped in her throat. She felt like shrieking 
aloud from very terror, but she managed to check the 
mad impulse to do so. She buried her head in Heaton's 
coat and kissed the rough material in memory of the 
brave heart that once beat under its homely folds. 

Charlie, Charlie, if only you were here now to 
defend her! 

The wailing cry came distinctly nearer. It could 
not possibly proceed from an animal, for it made articu- 
late sounds, Nancy crept out of her cabin, for it 
seemed less dreadful to meet the thing, whatever it was, 
in the open than to be cauglit in a trap in the house. 
She held the coat tightly around her to try and smother 



DELENDA EST CARTHAGO! 223 

the chattering of her teeth, which seemed to her to 
clatter like a sawmill. 

A dark shape flitted among the shadowy heaps of 
blackened ruins. That much she could distinguish in 
the starlight, and the crackle of the cinders, as it moved 
among the charred beams of the houses, proved to her 
that it was not a diseased fancy of her overwrought 
brain. 

By and bye the phantom came near to the cabin, 
under the wall of which Nancy was cowering in the 
shadow. It went in, and all was silent. Each moment 
she expected to behold some horrid phantasm; she hard- 
ly knew what she most feared, but something still more 
dreadful than the dim and uncertain terror that was 
chilling her heart's blood. A murmuring sound came 
from the cabin, at first faint and indistinct, like the dis- 
tant sough of wind in the pine trees. Then this 
changed into a woman's droning voice singing over and 
over the same words: 

" Mas'r Charlie done gone ter de war, 
We won't nebber see him no mo' ! 
De tree frog sing on his grave, 
'Way done in ole Virginny, oh ! " 

Nancy knew that chant well enough, because ever 
since Heaton went away the negroes were in the habit 
of singing it every now and then, particularly after 
hearing that there had been a battle anywhere in which 
he might be presumed to have been engaged. Evi- 
dently here was one of her negroes back again, and in- 
stead of welcoming her with joy, Nancy was shivering 
with fright outside the house. 

" Is that you, Melinda? " asked the young girl, going 
to the door and waiting at the threshold. The singer 
instantly stopped her song on hearing herself addressed, 
but did not reply. This puzzled Nancy, but when the 



224 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

doleful ditty was immediately resumed she concluded it 
was the crazy mulatto woman. 

" Susannah, where have you come from? " she asked 
in the hope of learning something about the rest of the 
negroes. 

" Susannah, don't yer cry," was all the answer 
she got, and this being a well-known revival hymn did 
not advance matters much further toward a mutual 
understanding. 

Guided by the voice, she groped her way to where 
the woman sat crooning to herself, and laid her hand on 
the face of the singer, but beyond kissing the hand she 
made no reply. The young girl nestled up to the 
woman, deriving comfort from the companionship of 
even a crazy negress, so lonely and desolate was she. 
She longed to get some information from her concern- 
ing the fate of the others, but, knowing from expe- 
rience how useless would be the attempt, she sat 
silent until the singer grew tired of the sound of her 
own voice. 

" Where's Aunt Monin? " she asked suddenly in the 
hope of rousing the torpid brain. The effect was not 
what she had anticipated. The answer came at once, 
clear and unfaltering, in Aunt Monin's own voice and 
words: 

" Honey-chile, don't yo' go for ter 'sgress 'gin de 
will o' de Lo'd. Yo' bide de time o' de Lo'd an' wait in 
'mility for de day o' grace." Nancy was electrified, and 
starting up she said, eagerly: "Aunt Monin, is it 3^ou? 
Tell me. Tell your own chile is it you, or is it a 
spirit come to mock me?'* She was in the greatest 
distress and agitation. Her companion, however, took 
not the slightest notice of her, but began again to 
wail that dirge about Mas'r Charlie and his grave. This 
was too much for Nancy's overstrained nerves; she 
sobbed aloud. The eerie singer took no notice, but 



DELENDA EST CARTHAGO I 225 

wailed and sang, and sang and wailed the whole of the 
night. 

At the first streak of dawn Nancy pulled her out into 
the open air to examine her features, for the similarity 
of voice and expression had been so bewilderingly like 
Aunt Monin that she could not feel sure which of the 
two had come back to her through the darkness and the 
night. Aunt Monin was jet black, and would not have 
been visible at all in the faint morning light, so when 
Nancy discerned a face before her she knew it was the 
mulatto woman, whose yellow features were already be- 
coming visible. 

" Susannah, why do you talk like Aunt Monin? " 
she asked sternly. 

" Jess put yer trus' in de Lo'd. He guide yo' outer 
de Ian' o' wil'erness an' 'struction. Look befo' yo', 
honey-chile, in hope an' faith, an' don' nebber look be- 
hin'," answered Susannah, but the imitation, though 
still remarkable, was less startling than in the dark, 
when it appeared to Nancy like magic. The name of 
Aunt Monin seemed to have the power of projecting 
some of her thoughts and expressions on poor Susan- 
nah's confused brain, for whenever Nancy repeated it to 
her she was sure to say something similar to what Aunt 
Monin used to say upon all and every occasion. As for 
giving the faintest clew about what had happened, she 
was totally unable to do so. 

"Is Aunt Monin gone?" asked Nancy, hoping to 
gather some crumbs of information from the outburst 
the name would cause. 

" I'se gwine down inter Egyp', inter de Ian' o' bond- 
age, an' my eyes sha'n't nebber see de honey-chile no 
mo', but de han' o' de Lo'd 'stain her an' pertec' her in 
de hours o' 'fliction," replied Susannah, and Nancy 
wept. 

The sun rose unclouded over the heap of blackened 



226 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

ruins where once had stood Carthage, and in the dis- 
tance across the twinkling dewy grass came a white- 
covered wagon shining in the morning light. It was 
Wilson, who started before dawn to come and fetch 
Nancy to where she would be safe among friends. 



CHAPTER XIX 

SLAVE DKIVING 

Sambo had often rehearsed an imaginary attack hy 
Quantrell, in resisting which he, Sambo, would per- 
form prodigies of valour with his razor-edged axe. The 
subject indeed was a favourite one with him, both for 
boastful talk and still more bumptious private imagin- 
ings. When the attack really came, however, Sambo 
was utterly overwhelmed and cut but a sorry figure, 
like many another boaster occupying a more exalted 
position than that poor darky at Carthage. 

It happened in this wise. 

He was drawing in the last loads of fodder out of 
the field where, according to prairie custom, it had re- 
mained in stacks during the winter, and was standing on 
the top of his load, while Pete and Moses pitched up 
the long and heavy sheaves to him. This was charac- 
teristic of negro work. The strongest man takes the 
lightest end of the log and uses his superiority to force 
the weaker ones to save him labour. Sambo was of 
course much stronger than either Pete or Moses, and 
pitching up heavy sheaves of Indian cornstalks is far 
heavier work than merely arranging them on the 
wagon. Accordingly, Samlao arranged them, and Pete 
and Moses pitched for dear life. As he was thus stand- 
ing on the top of his fodder, urging the small boys to 
greater exertion and taking his own task very easily, 
he looked around him in a leisurely manner. By and 

227 



22S THE JAY-HAWKERS 

bye he observed several horsemen on the south side of 
the farm, and by a strange coincidence a conple more 
seemed to be making for the bars on the north side. It 
was a very unusual occurrence to see so many people in 
that remote neighbourhood. 

As Nancy was away, Sambo felt it incumbent on 
him to do the civil by all visitors. Therefore he hopped 
nimbly down off his wagon and ran to the bars, leav- 
ing Pete and Moses to mop their steaming brows and 
throw themselves on the ground to rest. 

" Say, you darky, ole man to home? " hailed one of 
the horsemen from the bars. 

" No, sar; dar ain't nobuddy hyar 'cept we cuUod 
pussons," replied Sambo in his grandest manner, lie 
visibly swelled out with pride, and stood affably grinning 
at the two horseman. One of them laughed aloud at 
the answer, and made some remark to his companion, at 
the same time throwing him a coil of fine rope which 
the latter cast over his saddle horn. The first speaker 
then turned his horse's head and galloped off toward 
the gully, a small valley where the grass grew long and 
the cattle love to hide. Sambo stood a few paces inside 
the bars, prepared to do the polite should occasion arise. 
As soon therefore as the first horseman had ridden away, 
he said to the one who remained behind: 

" Gwine ter 'light an' water up yer critter? " 

"Yaas, I reckon I'll 'light a while. Jess let down 
them bars." 

Sambo came forward with alacrity, and as he stooped 
to lower the topmost rail to the ground he heard a sliglit 
whir about his ears as something dropped on his shoid- 
ders. He put up his hands to feel what it was and re- 
ceived a smart chuck under his chin which nearly sent 
him off his feet. There was a rope around his neck — 
a rope with a running noose at one end and the other 
end in the hand of the num on horseback. 



SLAVE DRIVrS[G 220 

" Don't yer holler or I'll hang yer right plumb hyar 
to the horn o' my saddle, by thunder! " remarked he, 
with another suggestive chuck to the rope. Sambo's 
jaw dropped and he turned green with terror. 

" No, mas'r," he faltered, trying to ease his neck 
with a twist. 

" Now then, yo' nigger, let down them bars mighty 
peart, or yo'll be riz off yer feet." 

Sambo took down the bars with speed, finding it 
difficult to breath with that fearful rope about his neck. 
A loud noise attracted his attention, and, rolling his 
eyes around, he beheld a troop of men gallop up out of 
the g"ully. 

" Got yer colt hitched up? " asked one of the new- 
cornel's with a laugh. 

" Yaas; an' he's as gentle as a lamb, you bet. Look 
hyar. Gee! haw! " said Sambo's captory imitating the 
words used in driving oxen, and at the same time jerk- 
ing in the rope. Of course Sambo came up quickly with 
the jerk. All the men laughed. 

" That colt's broke in mighty quick, anyhow," said 
one of them with gusto. 

" Git now, an' scoop up the balance o' the black 
cusses, so we can make tracks 'fore the word is passed," 
observed the man with the lasso, who seemed to be in 
command of the party. They moved forward, Sambo 
close alongside of his captor in the front rank, and in 
this humiliating position he came up to the door of the 
house and was confronted by M'linder standing there 
open-mouthed. 

" Lordy, Sambo, whar yo' gwine tied up like dat 
ar? " she asked in amazement. 

" We're Quantrell's men," was the dread reply. 
" Any nigger tryin' to break 'way 'ull git a bullet 
through him; any woman 'ull git a lariat rope roun' her 
neck like this hyar nigger, an' 'ull have to go afoot 'way 



230 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

down to the Missouri line. Now yo'll know what yer 
has to expect from yer new masters." 

The negroes shrunk together as the men dismounted 
and rapidly examined the premises. No one but Aunt 
Monin said a single word. The rest accepted their 
destiny in silence. They knew Quantrell's name only 
too well, and they also knew the character of his men 
too well to risk angering them in any way. Aunt Mouin, 
however, faced the men dauntlessly. 

" What fo' yo' come hyar to dish hyar house? We's 
all free niggas, we is. Our mistress, what own us all 
down in Missouri, she done sot us free. De slave owner 
kin do what he likes wid his slaves," she said valiantly, 
bringing forward all her powers of argument. 

" There ain't no free niggers anywheres in sight o' 
Quantrell an' his men. Git 'long, granny. Yer boun' 
for Dixie's land, anyhow," was the answer she received. 

" Yo'll riz up all de free-state men from here to 
Lawrence an' git 'em a'ter yo'," she said, falling back 
upon threats. 

" Quantrell an' his men ain't skeered o' free-state 
men an' Lawrence. They're goin' to wipe out the whole 
o' the dog-gauned set o' cussed ab'lishionists." 

Neither reasoning nor threat was of any avail. Aunt 
Monin was bundled along and forced to mount up be- 
hind one of the riders, just as the other negroes were, 
not excepting Susannah, who lifted up her voice in 
song, and, inappropriately enough, began to chant 
" Glory, halleluiah! we's boun' fo' de promise' Ian'." 
The fodder was ])itched out of the wagon, where Pete 
and Moses had loaded it up with such excessive expendi- 
ture of muscle and energy, and into it were packed those 
two astonished darkies and the rest of the children, to- 
gether with such valuables as the men upon hasty sur- 
vey deemed it advisable to steal, and then the wagon 
was sent off at a quick trot. 



SLAVE DRIVING 231 

A man who had hitherto remained somewhat apart 
now rode up and inquired in a sharp voice: 

"■ Eeady there, are you ? " 

" You bet it's ready. Dry as lightwood. Will burn 
like pitch," was the answer. 

" Then fire up and march," said the man, who was 
evidently the leader of the gang. He rode rapidly on 
toward the front and passed Aunt Monin sitting behind 
her horseman. She started as she beheld his face. 

" De Lo'd is lookin' down on yo', Mas'r Jeemes," 
she said in a loud voice, " an' he sees dish hyar de worse 
day's work yo' ebber done in all yer life." 

"■ Choke that old hag and throw her body down the 
well to poison the water rats," said the man savagely. 
'" I'll not have cackling niggers here, and she's too old 
to fetch more than a hundred and fifty dollars anywhere. 
It ain't worth while toting her South." 

" Shut up. granny. He's all-fired mad at jabbering 
niggers, and he'll do what he says, by thunder." 

" You bet! " said Aunt Monin's own cavalier. 
" Quantrell he's drowned a heap o' ole niggers as was 
kinder in his way. This coon don't like that sorter 
work. They screeches awful. Pesky critters to screech 
is nigger women when y'er chuckin' 'em under to drown. 
They jess lay holt on yer and sticks like pitch plaster." 

Perceiving from these remarks the character of the 
men who had captured them, Aunt Monin deemed it 
wise to hold her tongue, and so the troop rode away just 
as Nancy was congratulating herself upon the departure 
of what she thought might be a lot of unruly Irish sol- 
diers. 

Quantrell's band rode hard and did not draw rein 
imtil late in the night, when they got into the timber 
land at Rock Creek. Here they were joined by another 
contingent with a swarm of recaptured slaves. Evi- 
dently it was a big raid, and they had collected a lot of 



232 TOE JAY-HAWKERS 

booty. Keeping clear of the settlements, they made for 
the line in a southeasterly direction toward Black Jack. 
The luckless Sambo, tied by the neck, was driven in 
front of the group, and was obliged to run for fear of 
the horses stepping on him. For fifteen miles on a 
warm spring day, with the sun beating on his head, that 
hapless negro had to run, veritably for his life, and his 
terror and struggles formed a source of never-ending 
amusement to his brutal captors. At last he went 
raving mad, foamed at the mouth, cursed and swore, 
and dashed himself about until the rope tore the skin 
off his neck and shoulders and he presented a frightful 
aspect, covered with blood and his wild eyes rolling in 
his head. Seeing that his market value was likely to 
be depreciated, Quantrell at length ordered him to be 
placed in one of the wagons, and the men were deprived 
of an agreeable sort of sport. Susannah, whose mental 
deficiency had been soon discovered, was set down on 
the road a few miles from Carthage. 

" Crazy niggers ain't no more use than dead ones," 
said Quantrell. " Turn her loose." 

One of the men suggested firing at her as she ran, 
and had actually unslung his rifle preparatory to in- 
dulging in a little moving-target practice, when Quan- 
trell sternly bade him put up his gun. 

" What are you going to waste good powder and 
ball for on such infernal fooling? Don't you guess we 
may have more than enough to do with our powder 
before we quit Kansas? " 

The fellow, who was a young one out on his first 
ride, looked much abashed at receiving such a public 
rebuke from so famous a leader, and slunk into the rear 
to hide his mortification. Although the raiders kept 
clear of the settlements, they passed some isolated dwell- 
ings and were seen by various people as they rode along. 
So large and imposing a body coiild hardly escape notice 



SLAVE DRIVING 233 

even on the prairie. The news of their presence soon 
spread in spite of their fast riding. It was somewhere 
in the neighbourhood of Black Jack that a doddering 
old man, riding a sorry-looking mule, joined them. He 
seemed much delighted at finding himself on the same 
road as so grand a company, and asked innumerable 
questions as to where they were going to settle. He 
" 'lowed they'd got a sight o' land somewheres roun' 
as 'ud take such a power o' hands to till." In short, he 
was so loquacious and so foolishly simple that some of 
the young men began to get some fun out of him. They 
worked upon his terrors by all sorts of tales, and finally 
wound up by declaring they shouldn't wonder if they 
lighted on Quantrell in the course of the day. 

At the mention of the dreaded name the old man 
begged them to take him along with them and save him 
from the great guerrilla chief. When they rallied him 
on his fears he began to boast in the most outrageous 
manner of how he covild fight, and then would sink into 
a limp state of trepidation at the merest hint thrown out 
by one of the men that Quantrell was at Bloomington, 
and might be expected to come that way. In short, the 
old man was rare sport, and even the stern-faced leader, 
Quantrell himself, relaxed into more than one smile at 
the silliness of this crazy old man on the dejected mule. 

He rode with them the rest of the day, and even 
camped with them at night in the woods of Blue Creek. 
He seemed much delighted with the noise and confusion 
of picketing out the horses and the general scrimmage 
that arises when people camp for the night. He wan- 
dered around mumbling to himself, nobody paying the 
slightest heed to him. Thus, when it was quite dark, 
he stumbled in among the negro men, who were huddled 
together, tied with ropes, and somewhat insufficiently 
guarded by a few sentries who had no light by which 
to see their prisoners. The only fire of the camp was 



234 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

at a little distance, and was for the comfort of the white 
men of the party. So the silly old man sat down with 
the negroes in the dark, while the mules and horses, and 
the men, and the women and children made consider- 
able noise among them, so that nobody heard him as 
he softly whispered something in the ears of the bound 
prisoners — words that sounded to them like the silver 
trumpet of an angel, nor did the sentries perceive that 
he was, with a razorlike knife, cutting across the ropeB 
that tied the men together. He had thus liberated some 
nine full-grown negro men when he slipped quietly off 
into the bush still unnoticed by anybody at all. In a 
few minutes the woods rang with a series of the most 
appalling war whoops that ever chilled a settler's heart, 
followed by howls and shrieks, as if fifty men were butch- 
ering fifty more with every refinement of cruelty. The 
camp was instantly in an uproar. Shots were fired all 
round in the seeming direction of the noises. Some of 
the mules were thus hit, and they squealed and, break- 
ing their lariat ropes, bounded ofi^, bursting through the 
horses and setting them mad with fright. The shoot- 
ing, the shouting, the plunging and rearing, lasted sev- 
eral minutes, making a most tremendous noise, as if a 
battle was in progress. When the mad confusion had 
subsided it was discovered to the wild amazement of 
everybody that all the able-bodied negroes had utterly 
disappeared, no one knew when, no one knew whither. 

The old man too was gone, but this fact did not re- 
ceive any notice in the confusion of the supposed niglit 
attack. Indeed he was quite forgotten, as other and 
more important matters claimed everybody's attention. 
He was only remembered when, on saddling up in the 
early morning, something odd was found to be fastened 
to the halter of Quantrell's horse, which, upon exami- 
nation, proved to be the long and venerable beard worn 
by that crazy old man. 



SLAVE DRIVING 235 

" He was a spy, by thunder! " exclaimed Quantrell 
furiously, when it dawned upon him that he had been 
made a fool of. " A damned Yankee spy, that's what he 
was, and I never scented it time enough to shoot him." 

After this the raiders hurried forward as fast as they 
could, for the news of their whereabouts could not re- 
main secret, and Kansas men would be arming for the 
pursuit. Once over the line, they scattered in all direc- 
tions, so that the trail might be lost. The young men 
who had joined for the fun of the thing rode home as 
rapidly as possible, thanking their stars that they had 
come back with whole hides out of Kansas; and the old 
hands, who made a business of raiding, hurried off their 
band of recaptured slaves toward the Arkansas border 
with a view to getting them South as fast as possible. 
Straight south they rode, keeping well inside the Mis- 
souri line, along that track of derelict land where the 
hogs were toiling for their scanty subsistence. They had 
got as far as Papinsville on their southern march when 
Aunt Monin was taken most violently ill. Her suffer- 
ings, to Judge by her lamentations, must have been acute 
in the extreme. Her shrieks and cries filled the cabin 
where the negroes were shut up for the night, and in the 
morning when the time came to move forward, as it did 
very early in the dim light, she was rigid, with eyes rolled 
inside out and mouth foaming. A terrible spectacle 
indeed. One of the men in charge of the captives gave 
her a smart kick, which failed to create any effect or to 
arouse her in the least. 

" That ole nigger's jess 'bout bust up," he remarked 
to his pal. " 'Tain't no sorter use loiterin' roun' 'count 
o' her." So he reported the old nigger woman as dead, 
and the party, with the rest of the captives, moved off. 
Aunt Monin's recovery dated from the moment that she 
became aware she was quite alone. She sat up and 
peered around her. She stood up, and finally shook her 
16 



236 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

vigorous old fist in the direction in which the slave 
catchers had disappeared, saying: 

" Aha, yo' ole thief, yo' ain't nowheres so cute as 
ole Aunt Monin. Yo' 'low yo's mighty peart for shu', 
on'y yo' can't see nuflfin 'cept yer ole red nose. Bah! 
I spit on yo', I does." 

Whereupon she stalked out of the hut completely 
recovered from the terrifying fits that had held grip of 
her all during the night. Clearly Aunt Monin was a 
very vigorous old woman both in mind and body. 



CHAPTER XX 

THE TASK OF SISYPHUS 

The education gained in life on a slave plantation is 
not one calculated to teach helpfulness and self-reliance. 
■There are too many hands whose bounden duty it is to 
lighten the load on the shoulders of master and mistress 
for such shoulders to gain very sturdy proportions. 
Nancy suffered from the defects of her education, and 
those defects were only in part corrected by the natural 
force of her character and the energy which was derived 
from her great pride. She was an exceedingly proud 
girl, one who writhed under a sense of obligation, unless 
indeed it was toward some person whom she loved. 
Then her very pride it was that taught her a sweet hu- 
mility, as though she could show no greater proof of her 
love than in subduing that pride and being the gentle 
recipient of favours from the beloved hand. 

Pride is of many complexions, and the ways in which 
it expresses itself are without number. The pride of 
the poor Southerner, pinched for money, out at the 
elbows, was a source of never-failing derision to the 
keen, successful Yankee, full of commerical prosperity. 
To the self-made man there is nothing so contemptible 
as the pride that is founded upon anything but individ- 
ual exertion and the results thereof. The Southerners 
had made no very signal exertion until the war of seces- 
sion, and they had therefore to fall back upon the pride 
of having ancestors and the accumulated succession of 

237 



238 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

ideas to be derived from that circumstance. The self- 
made man, of course, has, so to speak, no ancestors, or 
only such as serve the purpose of a dark background of 
failure to show up all the more vividly the bright lights 
of his own subsequent success in life. The pride, how- 
ever, of the ruined Southerner, relying for its exist- 
ence on a misty but distinguished line of forefathers, is 
of the same quality of mind as that of the aggressive 
Yankee, counting up his swelling millions and rejoicing 
in his cuteness in having been able to create them. Tlie 
mere outsider may be pardoned if he fails to see much 
to deride in the former or to extol in the latter. 

In the first hours of her desolation and terror after 
her home was burned Nancy was willing to be helped by 
any kindly soul who would bestow succour. When driv- 
ing away in Wilson's wagon toward his house she ex- 
perienced nothing but a sense of comfort and security 
at being near a man ready and able to protect her. Wil- 
son, moreover, was a kindly hearted, fatherly sort of 
man who seemed to take an interest in her, and he did 
not season that interest with the bitter salt of adverse 
criticism for past failures to do the right thing, after 
the manner of so many well-ineaning people, who there- 
by implant a sense of exasperation in the hearts of 
those whom they wish to befriend. Nancy was thank- 
ful to him for coming to her in her adversity, and for 
the moment she could think of nothing but of the re- 
lief of getting to his house, where she would be safe and 
could rest. 

This feeling lasted during the ten-mile drive to the 
Wilsons' home, but it rapidly gave place to anotlier feel- 
ing when she saw Mrs. Wilson, a kind-hearted, sour- 
tongued woman, whose nerves were as unstrung as over- 
work, poor health, and many children could make them. 
8be bad been much concerned at tlie account her hus- 
band liad given her of Nancy's misfortune, and slie was 



THE TASK OF SISYPHUS 239 

quite prepared to show a thankful spirit to Providence 
for sparing her home from the raiders in the tangible 
form of kindness to Nancy. But gratitude to Provi- 
dence, Mrs. Wilson opined, did not include hospitality 
toward Nancy's black servant, as she chose to consider 
Susannah, whose unexpected arrival brought into 
prominence rather the sour tongue than the kind heart. 

" Land sakes, Darius, you don't tell me there's a 
black woman come 'long too! " she observed to her hus- 
band in clear thin tones that were perfectly audible to 
the newly arrived guest. Nancy's pride received a stab 
through and through. She almost gasped. 

" 'Pears like as if there must be a sight o' useless 
folks round in the world if them as is homeless has 
servants to wait on their poverty," she added, apparently 
to the long-enduring Darius, but in effect to Nancy. 

" I am sorry to be a burden, Mrs. Wilson," began the 
young girl, the hot colour flooding her pale cheeks as 
she spoke, " but " 

" You ain't a mite o' burden," broke in her hostess, 
smitten in her heart and laying strong emphasis upon 
the personal pronoun. " I was only saying as I don't 
guess coloured folks is much use, anyhow," which, it 
may be noted, was not in the least what Mrs. AVilson had 
really said. Apologies, however, should not be too 
closely analyzed lest they fall to pieces under the pro- 
cess. 

" Wal, wal," said Wilson with mucli, cheeriness, for 
he was in the habit of sweetening his wife's remarks, 
knowing how much they needed it, " guess Ave're all 
pretty tol'ble hungry, wifie. Can't you scare up some 
sort o' fixin's to eat an' don't wait for dinner? Dinner, 
'eordin' to my 'pinion, is clean out 'o sight when it's two 
hours off an' you are powerful hungry." 

" There's food kep' hot o' purpose in the oven, fa- 
ther, an' there's plenty too for the coloured woman," re- 



240 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

plied his wife, making the amende honorable according 
to her best ability. 

The food, though good, very nearly choked Nancy, 
hungry as she was. And this shows the strength of her 
pride, for hunger as a rule brings people smartly to a 
dead level of mere animal sensation, wherein all the 
finer fibres of the mind are completely dulled, so that 
they give over feeling, or perhaps it would be more cor- 
rect to say that for the time being they do not vibrate to 
the finer feelings. Wilson, with the hearty good nature 
of a strong man and feeling pity for Nancy's desolation, 
had brought her to his house without definite invitation 
and without limiting her stay in any way. It never oc- 
curred to him to do so. It very quickly occurred to his 
wife, however, to inquire how long she was likely to be 
their giiest. 

" Why, Lordy, Lordy, jess as long as she likes," re- 
plied the heedless husband. 

" And the coloured woman ? I want to know, Da- 
rius, if we've got to keep the two of them all summer? " 
asked his wife, her keen green-gray eyes looking him 
through and through, and her thin pale lips shutting 
tightly over her mouth once they had let the words 
out. 

" I guess she'll do kinder handy as a hired girl, an' 
help you see to things an' mind the children, Cinthy," 
replied her foolish lord. 

" Darius Wilson, I'm surprised at you! " observed 
his wife severely, at which Darius looked uneasily first 
at one boot heel and then at the other. " Do you guess 
I'm going to begin having those lazy no-account negro 
women around in my house hindering me in my work — 
me as had fifteen cows all to my own hand in York State 
and washed and scalded the milk pans every blessed 
day without a mite o' help from anybody! No, Darius, 
I ain't going to have the folks down to Oneonta say as 



THE TASK OF SISYPHUS 241 

Cinthy Wilson can do her housework no more, and is 
drove to take a sloppy coloured woman to mess round in 
her house." 

This was the form Mrs. Wilson's pride took, and 
Darius in the course of his married life had frequently 
to suffer at the hands of those scalded milk pans and 
those fifteen cows, if one may be permitted the use of 
so violent a metaphor. 

This, then, was the somewhat unfriendly haven into 
which Fate had guided Nancy Overton. As we have 
said, her education and her experience were both de- 
fective, but her pride now came to the rescue and sup- 
plied motive power enough to overcome all difficulties. 
Instead of remaining a passive eater of food under the 
Wilsons' roof, not a week elapsed before she had made 
her plans and taken her decision. The raiders under 
Quantrell had, it is true, burned everything she pos- 
sessed — that is, all that was combustible. They could 
not burn the land, however. Accordingly, that remained 
to Nancy, and once more the luckless girl found herself 
with a farm to sell. But the blackened and devastated 
ruins of Carthage constituted a very different sort of as- 
set from that snug farm down in Missouri, as she soon 
found out. However, there was a man in Tecuraseh 
who agreed to give her a few hundred dollars for her 
land. She eagerly closed with the bargain, absurdly 
disadvantageous as it was, and with feverish haste re- 
turned to the Wilsons with the money, part of which 
had been paid to her to clinch the bargain. 

Once more there was a burning spot on her cheeks as 
she again broached the subject of her board and lodging 
while with the worthy farmer and his wife. This time 
her eyes sparkled with something that was not tender- 
ness of feeling as she handed a small roll of green- 
backs to Mrs. Wilson. 

" We have, I am sure, been a great burden to you. 



242 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

Mrs. Wilson, my poor afflicted Susannah and myself, but 
if you will accept this small sum in payment for our 
board and lodging I shall be glad." 

Mrs. Wilson made some slight show of resistance 
and then accepted the money, but she kept the fact a 
secret from her good-tempered husband, as there were 
certain things about which he was exceedingly obsti- 
nate and determined. The unerring instinct derived 
from twenty years of wedded life made her know that 
this question of taking money from Nancy for her board 
would be just one of those very things. Paying the 
money gratified Nancy's pride, accepting it enabled Mrs. 
Wilson to buy several much-needed articles of apparel 
for the children, and Darius was not troubled with any 
details likely to disturb the even tenor of his good hu- 
mour. Mrs. Wilson compromised with her conscience 
by giving Susannah quite a number of sound and useful 
articles of clothing, so that altogether that forlorn per- 
son was quite respectably made up for her new life in 
Lawrence. She and her scarcely less forlorn young 
mistress left the Wilsons and started out upon the world 
together. Seldom had a more helpless pair faced the 
unknown under more depressing circumstances. 

The sense of her complete failure came upon Nancy 
with ever increasing force. Had it not been for Susan- 
nah's helplessness and the knowledge that she must ex- 
ert herself for the sake of the mulatto woman, perhaps 
she would never have borne up against it all. With the 
crazy woman entirely dependent upon her, the young 
girl felt some of the responsibilities a mother might 
feel who had a child to take care of. She must struggle 
on and make another effort for the sake of Susannah, 
the last of her family of negroes. 

Instinct rather tiian an aptitude for business told 
her what to do. There is always one sort of work which 
is Avanted in every community, one sort of work that 



THE TASK OF SISYPHUS 243 

pays, one sort of work that women are fitted for. Nancy 
had failed as an enthusiastic enfranchise!" of slaves; she 
could no longer hope to succeed as a Kansas settler, but 
there was one thing she could do. She could cook for 
hungry men. Behold her, then, in very different cir- 
cumstances from what we have hitherto seen her. She 
is shorn of the glory of being a queen on a small scale 
over her little kingdom of slaves or freed negroes. She 
is no longer the centre of her little world, as she has 
been hitherto, the one to whom all looked up. It is 
recorded of a king of France that once when a foreign 
sovereign was coming to pay him a visit at Versailles 
his Majesty showed the greatest alarm and concern at 
the expected event. It turned out that the cause of this 
seemingly groundless pertarbation was the fact that his 
Majesty felt he did not know how to behave to an equal, 
having never before been anything but in veriest truth 
the monarch of all he surveyed. Owing to her strange- 
ly isolated life and the condition under which she had 
lived at Carthage, Nancy had in a small measure been 
like the king of France. Her will, gentle though it was, 
had been law, and her rule was uncontested. A long 
continuance of this life of isolation combined with 
native pride would in the end have made her a hard, 
imperious woman. To develop such a character there 
is not needed a kingdom as large as France. A 
small country place will suffice, if the initial native 
pride be there and unquestioning obedience be its 
portion. 

The swift destruction that overwhelmed Carthage 
and the consequent destitution of its young mistress 
may have been necessary to the development of her 
character as well as to its training, but it was one of 
those bitter lessons the utility of which is much more 
clearly apparent to the onlooker than to the person 
smarting under the severity of the training. Nancy did 



244 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

not look upon it as a chastening that she deserved. She 
did not consider her pride needed any chastening. On 
the contrary, she called upon it to carry her through the 
trials which even she foresaw were in store for her. 
Life looked very dreary as she entered upon this new 
phase of her existence. Charlie Heaton was gone, per- 
haps never to return, and now Aunt Monin too was 
lost. She literally had nothing on the face of God's 
earth to love but a crazy mulatto woman. This crazy 
woman, an added burden some would have thought, was 
the one thing that saved her. The necessity of taking 
care of Susannah made work imperative, and the mind 
can not sink into hopeless despair when the body is 
hard worked. 

It was hard work and no mistake. 

Nancy rented a small wooden house, a mere shanty 
of two rooms with a loft. Over the door of this shanty 
she painted in bold letters with her own hand, " Eating 
House." There were a good many people, teamsters 
and the like, passing through Lawrence on their 
way out West, and it was Nancy's hope to attract to 
her modest restaurant those who were too poor to 
go to the Free State Hotel. Hungry men soon scent 
good food. Nancy's eating house, although standing 
away from the main street, did not long remain un- 
discovered. She began to get a little custom imme- 
diately, and before the summer was well set in had 
as much work as she and Susannah could possibly 
manage. 

The ancient Greeks created Sisyphus and his stone 
forever rolling from the top of the hill as an embodi- 
ment of the idea of never-ending labour. The modern 
antitype is a woman doing housework. No sooner had 
Sisyphus got his stone to the hilltop than, we are told, 
it tumbled inconveniently to the bottom, and he had to 
begin his labour all over again. So with housework. 



THE TASK OP SISYPHUS 2J:5 

No sooner is the last pot washed and the last plate put 
on the dresser after breakfast than down comes tlie 
first saucepan preparatory to dinner. All the work 
has to be done over again, and the sinful confusion 
of an after-dinner kitchen is hardly resolved into or- 
der when the riot of the on-coming supper begins to 
make itself felt. We have no authoritative statement 
as to how his stone rolling affected the temper of Sisy- 
phus, but if we are to judge by the effect of prolonged 
housework on cooks, he must have been as cross as ten 
cats. 

This, then, is the work that Nancy plunged into 
along with Susannah when she set up her eating house 
in the back street of Lawrence. She was young, strong, 
and healthy, and Susannah worked with the passive en- 
durance of a machine, yet the two women were tired to 
death every night when at length they laid their weary 
bodies to rest in the hot and dark little loft which Nancy 
dignified by the name of " her room." The summer 
came scorching on, as it does in Kansas, first with a hot 
whiff and then with a blast as from a smelting furnace. 
It scorched up the grass and made the trees by the Kaw 
Eiver look as if a prairie fire had passed that way. Even 
the water in the river looked hot and listless, and, as 
though it had no more energy to run its long course to 
the sea, it only crawled slimily along, trembling under 
the fierce glare of a pitiless sun that made the sky cop- 
per hued with the heat. 

Yet the baking of pumpkin pies by the acre and the 
boiling of bacon and beans by the cart load, with the 
daily mixing up of hot soda biscuits, went on uninter- 
rupted in the little eating house. Small wonder that 
Nancy looked pale and thin, and that the curl went out 
of her crisp black hair, leaving limp little rings lying 
flatly on her white forehead. Her vigorous young 
hands were marked with many a red sign of scald and 



246 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

burn, and her white round arms, bare high over the 
elboAV, were dappled with flour, as she bravely worked 
on, baking, boiling, stewing, and roasting, washing and 
cleaning all day long, to stagger wearily to rest when 
the night at length came. 



CHAPTER XXI 



AUNT MONIN S QUEST 



When Aunt Monin arose after her miraculous re- 
covery from " fits," and had expressed her wrath and 
contempt for her stupid captors in the emphatic way al- 
ready set forth, she found herself entirely thrown upon 
her own wits for support. She determined, in the first 
instance, to lie perdu until darkness set in, for she 
knew that she was in the enemy's country, and that it 
would be difficult for her to give a plausible account of 
herself, supposing she came across any one who chose 
to make inquiries. Accordingly, she crept off to an old 
empty corncrib that stood in a neighbouring field, and 
curled herself up among the cornshucks to pass the 
day. What she hoped for was to come across some 
friendly darkey, who, knowing the locality, would help 
her to get safely away. She passed the hours in softly 
talking and singing to herself, except when she slept, 
which she did lightly at intervals. It was during one 
of these fox's sleeps that a boy appeared chanting melo- 
diously, " Come, oh, my hogs, ain't yer gwine ter be 
fed," in a beautiful minor cadence quite foreign to the 
commonplace meaning of the words. Aunt Monin 
awoke instantly, or rather opened her other eye, for one 
may be said to have remained open all the time, and sat 
up. A youth of about fourteen pulled open the rickety 
door and began to grab at the shucks nearest to him, 
while grunts and squeals in all keys denoted that his 

247 



248 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

cantata had not been sung to an unappreciative au- 
dience. 

" What for yo' come so late, chile? I'se bin waitin' 
an' waitin' everlastin' long," observed Aunt ]\Ionin 
somewhat sternly. 

" Lordy! Golly ISTed! " exclaimed the boy, consid- 
erably startled. " Who dat dar? " 

He dropped his shucks and backed hurriedly out of 
the door. 

" Come back hyar, yo' poor silly possum. Don't yo' 
know ole Aunt Monin? I'se s'prised at yo', I is," re- 
marked the old woman with scorn. The boy was 
abashed, as she meant he should be, and came again 
into the doorway apologetically. 

" Dish hyar crib is mighty kinder dark," he said; " I 
nebber seed yo'." 

" In course yo' didn't; dat why I done holler out ter 
yo'," said Aunt Monin, " so yo' needn't be skeered o' 
nothin'." 

" I warn't nary mite skeered," replied the boy, de- 
tecting in this remark a distinct slur upon his man- 
hood. 

" Knowed yo' warn't," answered Aunt Monin cor- 
dially. " No sorter chile I hearn tell on was skeered o' 
ole Aunt Monin." 

She laughed cheerfully. 

" Yo' bet," said the boy, grinning likewise. 

International diplomacy itself could not go further 
for mutual pretences and complete falsification of the 
truth, veiled in conventional courtesies. 

" Jess run 'long an' tell 'em ole Aunt ]\Tonin's bin 
powerful sick an' weak an' sorter stan's in the need o' 
'sistance," said she, eying him keenly. 

" Got ter feed dem hogs fust," said the boy, " else 
ole inas'r crack my skull for me." 

" To be shu'. Yo' don't go for to not feed dem 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 249 

hogs, on'y den yo' tell yer mammy what I done say," re- 
peated Aunt Monin. 

" Mammy done gone 'way." 

"Whar?" asked Aunt Monin with keenest anxiety 
of voice and manner. " Now, chile, yo' don't go for ter 
tell me she done gone clar off, an' dat I ain't gwine ter 
see her no mo'." 

" Mammy she stay with ole man Lewis down to 
the ordinary. She done hire out dar and cook fo' ole 
man Lewis. Mas'r Tom he don't keep all his niggas to 
home no mo' now." 

Aunt Monin took in all these details in a twinkling. 

" Den I'se gwine ter see her 'gain," she said with a 
sigh of satisfied affection; " when yo' gwine down ter de 
ordinary, chile? " 

" Mas'r Tom he don't say nuffin, I go 'long dar jess 
when I want ter. We uns mos' like free niggas now. 
Mammy she done give me jumble cakes and m'larses 
candy f o' Marfa Jane." 

The lad fed his hogs, while Aunt Monin stood lean- 
ing against the doorway, talking unconcernedly to him, 
and thus learning incidentally all she wanted in regard 
to where she was. He, having accepted her as an old ac- 
quaintance of his mother's whom he ought to have re- 
membered but did not, was perfectly friendly and 
chatty. 

" Reckon I'll go 'long wid yo', honey," said Aunt 
Monin when the evening job was over and he came to 
shut up the crib. I'se kinder lonesome hyar, an' sorter 
longin' ter see Marfa Jane." 

So the pair set off together, and Aunt Monin con- 
gratulated herself on having begun so very well in find- 
ing just the sort of person who was likely to be useful 
to her. The corncrib where she had been hiding was 
situated in a clump of trees, and when Aunt Monin 
emerged from this place of concealment she at once no- 



250 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

ticed the deserted look of everything. Some blackened 
heaps, now half grown over with weeds and grass, told 
their tale plainly enough, and if the story needed any 
annotation this was supplied by the appearance of the 
few existing houses, which, though small and wretched, 
were one and all perfectly new. The place had been 
burned, and that within a couple of years. 

" Who done burn dish hyar city? " she asked, swing- 
ing her long arm comprehensively around the desolate 
scene. 

" Jay-Hawkers outer Kansas. Ole Mas'r Tom dey 
burn up his house an' all de corn too, an' he don't do 
nuflin now on'y drink heap o' whisky an' lamm his nig- 
gas," replied the boy with a grin of amusement. 

They thus proceeded to a wretched hovel where roll- 
ing blissfully in the dust M^as Marfa Jane, a fat spoiled 
child of nine, who howled at the sight of the newcomer. 
The mother had not yet returned from her culinary 
duties at Lewis's ordinary. 

" Marfa Jane, yo' hain't got no manners, yo' hain't," 
said Aunt Monin severely, " I ain't agwine ter tell yer 
mammy if yo' come right hyar an' behave like a good 
little gal." 

Marfa Jane subsided, but edged away, keeping a 
sharp lookout upon the stranger. The way in which 
Aunt Monin took command of that hut, and how she or- 
dered the children to produce their provisions, and tlie 
speed with which she tossed together a pone and baked 
it in the hot ashes, giving it to them to eat just at the 
right moment, was a sight. The two children were de- 
liglited with their new friend and cuddled up to her 
when she began to sing song after song in her sweet 
old quavering voice. 

Of course Aunt Monin's diplomacy was all directed 
toward tlie attainment of a single purpose, namely, her 
escape back into Kansas. Her mind was set on return- 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST • 251 

ing to Carthage and to Nancy. No matter how far she 
might have been carried by her captors she would never 
have abandoned that object as long as life lasted. She 
had begun to look out for her opportunity almost from 
the outset, but it was not till she reached Papinsville 
that chance favoured her by a change in the men who 
had charge of the party. When the cook at Lewis's 
ordinary returned, it is needless to say that to her Aunt 
Monin at once explained who she was and what was the 
heljj she wanted. 

" Sis'er/' said the cook eagerly, " I'se gwine ter 'list 
the help o' de bredren. Dar's Brer Henry Jeemes down 
de turnpike, an' he's jess gran' to riz up an' pray on dish 
hyar un'ertakin'. Dar's signs an' won'ers in de Ian', 
sis'er, an' de sperit o' de Lo'd move de multitude to 
strive fo' righteousness," said sister Lu, who was greatly 
given to Aunt Monin's own practice of holding mystic- 
ally forth. " De han' o' de Lo'd is riz up. Glory, halle- 
luiah! Dem ole bushwhackers under ole man Holtz- 
claw is somewhar roun' in de brush south o' Jefferson," 
she added, a bit of worldly gossip bursting into her mys- 
ticism and streaking it like a shaft of light thrown 
across a foggy atmosphere. 

" Is dem ole secesh bushwhackers anywhars roun' 
hyar?" inquired Aunt Monin, with an eye to personal 
consequences. 

" I hearn tell de secesh armies is comin' right 'long 
dish time. Dey is gwine ter whop dem Yankees, any- 
how," replied sister Lu, who from being cook in a tav- 
ern frequented by Southerners was imbued with their 
faulty notions concerning the progress of the war and 
the probable course thereof. 

" Sis'er, I'se gwine ter start fer my honey-chile dish 
bressed night," announced Aunt Monin, who saw all 
sorts of dangers to herself in the near proximity of vic- 
torious Confederate armies. 
17 



252 THE JAY-EAWKERS 

" Sis'er, yo' ain't gwine ter set out on dish journey 
'thout takin' council o' de bredren an' axin' de blessin' 
o' de Lo'd in full meetin'?" remonstrated sister Lu, 
with a relapse into the religious character again. 

" Reckon de blessin' o' de Lo'd ain't partic'lar sot on 
comin' down through yer meetin'house. He can sen' it 
right 'long anywheres/' replied Aunt Monin, with the 
natural scorn of a rival exponent of religion in face of 
one who arrogated superior airs unto herself. 

" Which way yo' gwine ter start? " asked sister Lu, 
coming to practical details. 

" I's gwine northwest. We come southeast; I know 
dat ar," answered Aunt Monin, who had all a negro's 
unerring instinct for direction. 

" De brush in de Osage is plumb full o' bushwhack- 
ers. I seed a man las' week tole me," said sister Lu 
anxiously. 

Aunt Monin rose up and stood a long, lank form tow- 
ering high above sister Lu's fat, stumpy body. Her 
great black eyes shone with an unearthly sort of lustre. 

" I'se gwine," she announced briefly. 

" Sis'er, ax de blessin' on dish hyar un'ertakin'," re- 
monstrated her companion. 

" Reckon I'll sorter ax de blessin' while I'm makin' 
tracks fo' Kansas. De Lo'd he'll un'erstan' how dish 
ole nigga's in powerful hurry, an' he'll listen while I'm 
goin' 'long de road ter my honey-chile. Dat chile ain't 
nebber slep' nary night 'way from ole Aunt Monin since 
she war ten days ole. She'll be a-callin' out for me. 
Hark! I mos' allers hears her voice in de trees, an' 
comin' down from de sky a-sayin', ' Aunt Monin, Aunt 
Monin, come back ter yer honey-chile.' " 

"Ain't yo' got on'y one chile?" asked sister Lu, 
to whom this seemed an unexampled state of affairs with 
a healthy negro woman. 

" On'y dat one wliat de Lo'd sen' ter me in de hours 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 253 

o' sin an' 'fliction fer ter save my sovil from 'struction," 
answered Aunt Monin, who could be as vague as sister 
Lu when once she started in that line. 

Nothing could turn her from her purpose of starting 
off that very same night on her return Journey into 
Kansas; so, with a good store of hard corn bread, than 
which there is nothing more sustaining or more porta- 
ble. Aunt Monin stepped out into the darkness with no 
guide but the north star and her faith in God. She 
never had a moment's doubt that she could get back 
into Kansas, if only she was not stopped by the bush- 
whackers. Her constant dread was that she might 
run into a stray troop of them. Accordingly, she re- 
solved to do all her walking by night and to lie hidden 
during the hours of daylight. Aunt Monin was at an 
age when exertion, if supported by a fervent inward im- 
pulse, seemed to have no effect upon her. Her long 
lean arms hung limply by her side, and her long lean 
legs swung over the ground with a shaking sort of gait 
that reminded one, ridiculously enough, of a camel. 
She did not carry an ounce of useless flesh. Her body 
was made of bones and whipcord, and her mind was set 
to a single purpose. Just the type of a fanatic, per- 
haps, but the type that accomplishes what it sets out 
to do in all ages and in all climes. 

Leaving Papinsville Just as the moon rose. Aunt 
Monin foimd herself following a northwesterly course 
by a road which seemed latterly to have fallen into dis- 
use. Trees lay across it in the bottom land, while in 
the open the grass had overgro^vn the deep ruts of for- 
mer wagon tracks. All through the silent night she 
tramped steadily onward. Morning found her on the 
highlands overlooking the valley of the Osage. She 
stopped to rest and to eat some of her corn bread; mean- 
while she gazed keenly about her. There was no poetry 
or sentiment in her that vibrated to the strano^e wild- 



254 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

ness of the scene around her. All the poetry of Aunt 
Monin's nature had long since run to love of her 
" honey-chile/' leaving nothing to feed other emotions. 
But she looked none the less keenly at the scene before 
her. Suddenly she jumped up and struck her lean 
hands smartly together. 

" Glory, halleluiah! " she sang with a ring of ex- 
ultation. " I knowed de Lo'd was guidin' me slap 
outer de Ian' o' bondage 'way down inter de Ian' o' 
freedom. Dar flows de Eibber Jordan. I'se gwine 
ter cross over into de Ian' o' Canaan. Glory, halle- 
luiah!" 

She had recognised the scene, and this outburst was 
caused by the fact that Mine Creek, the border stream, 
lay within reach of her active limbs; another night's 
Avalk would bring her to its fateful banks. No wonder 
that she intoned her song of triumph. Not very far 
away U'p the river valley was the farm where she had 
lived, the farm where " ole mas'r " had been killed by 
the Jay-Hawkers, and where the drama of Nancy's life 
had begun. The old negress rested during the day 
curled up on the sunny side of a cottonwood bush, like a 
copperhead basking in the fresh warmth of the spring 
sunshine. Such a proceeding as this would have been 
destructive to any but a negro as hard and as tough as 
Aunt Monin. She, however, felt no more harm from it 
than if she had actually been the snake to which she 
has been likened. As soon as night came on again up 
she started, her soul exulting in the thought of her 
nearness to the border. Considerable time was lost in 
going around the head waters of two or three unfordable 
creeks that flowed into the Osage; thus it was not until 
the afternoon of the third day from Papinsville that 
she found herself on the banks of Mine Creek. She had 
not met a living creature during the whole march. 
Tliis would not have been possible in tlie days before 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 255 

tlie war, but that part of Missouri was, as we have al- 
ready said, quite deserted. 

At the creek she found a man trying to get a load 
of coal across, a doubtful proceeding, as his horses 
seemed hardly up to the work. He had evidently come 
from the coal mine, and was going into Kansas with a 
heavy load. Aunt Monin concluded he must be going 
home, and that his home was in Kansas; therefore he 
must be a free-state man, and she might trust him. 
Coming out of the brushwood where she had been l3dng 
concealed, she said: 

" I'll help yo' unload half dat dar, if yo'll give me a 
hoist over de liibber Jordan, mas'r." 

" I don't take toll from coloured people. Hop in, 
my good soul," replied the man with unmistakable abo- 
litionist manner and diction. " I never heard this 
creek called the Eiver Jordan before. Mine Creek is 
the name it mostly goes by round here." 

" It am de Eibber Jordan, mas'r, 'cause I'se gwine 
ter cross it inter de promise' Ian'," replied Aunt Monin 
impressively, as she clambered up beside him on the 
driving board. 

He gave a satisfied grunt of amusement, and they 
plunged into the water. Mine Creek was only moder- 
ately high now and presented no particular difficulties 
in the crossing at this time; but just on the other side 
of the water there was a most portentous mudhole, into 
which the heavy laden coal wagon plunged and there 
stuck fast. The driver urged his horses; they tried 
once or twice, and then gave it up, as horseS always do 
when they imagine they are stalled. 

" Well, I swan! " said the man with resignation. 

" Pray to de Lo'd, mas'r, an' unload de wagon," said 
Aunt Monin. 

" Sound advice," said her companion with a chuckle, 
" sound practical advice. Reminds me of Cromwell's 



256 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

direction to ' trust in the Lord and keep your powder 
dry.' Did you ever hear of that, granny? " 

•" No, mas'r, nebber hearn tell o' Cromwell. Was he 
riz out in Missouri? " 

" No; but his spirit seems to have come there to 
dwell. Guess I'll unhitch and come down to-morrow 
with four horses. You can come along home with me. 
I don't live far, and I guess you'll be glad of a good 
night's rest, eh ? " 

" Yes, mas'r, I would. I've come afoot from Pa- 
pinsville, an' I'se gwine ter Carthage," replied Aunt 
Monin simply. 

" AVell, I'll help you along the road a bit," said her 
new friend kindly, as he brought his now released horses 
out of the mudhole, leaving the wagon behind. He was 
as good as his word and lost no time in making inquiries 
for some one going north with a Avagon. In this way 
Aunt Monin got various " lifts " from different team- 
sters, so that she did not have to depend very much on 
her own powers of walking, and she reached Tecumseh 
far sooner than she would have done if left to her own 
devices; in fact, she was there some ten days or so after 
crossing Mine Creek. 

It was with a heart overflowing with joy that she set 
out at length on the familiar road from Tecumseh to 
Carthage. It was a little over three weeks since the 
raiders had carried her off from Nancy, and as she 
tramped along she began to act over and over again the 
great scene of her meeting with her " honey-chile " 
which was so soon to be a reality. It was a fresh May 
morning, and the dew twinkled merrily on the grass 
which was still in the tender green of early spring, be- 
fore the wear and tear of summer had tarnished its 
beauty. The air was still and clear, and the sky bright 
shining blue. There was a hush over the prairie, a sol- 
emn loneliness that would have struck a more imagina- 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 257 

tive traveller. There are no birds on those wide-reach- 
ing plains; the air is dead to their song and their chat- 
ter. Sometimes a solitary crow flies slowly along utter- 
ing occasional croaks of discontent, but of song birds 
there are none. High in the air, faintly specking the 
blue vault of heaven, were to be seen little V-shaped pat- 
terns, like triangles with no base, moving apex foremost 
straight north, and from time to time these baseless 
triangles sent forth long shrill screams. They were 
the wild geese flying north, a sure sign that summer 
was coming. Unerringly they winged their way to- 
ward the distant north in one long flight from the 
shores of the Mexican Gulf to the lone lands of the arc- 
tic seas. Always flying in carefully constructed tri- 
angles with the chief in front, steadily breasting their 
way north across that immense continent, they used to 
pass over the prairies in countless thousands every 
spring and autumn. 

As steadily as the wild geese, if not so fast. Aunt 
Monin pursued her way toward Carthage. Her excite- 
ment increased as she came into the last bottom land, 
and she knew she would get a sight of Carthage when 
once she stood on the top of the next ridge. Her faith- 
ful heart swelled with love and a feeling of immense 
pride mingled therewith. She would tell her child that 
no one, not even the dreaded slave catchers themselves, 
were as strong as her love. No one was cute enough to 
keep old Aunt Monin from breaking away and getting 
back to her honey-chile. She began with the dramatic 
instincts of her race to declaim about it aloud, setting 
her words to a sort of harmonious droning song. The 
rude mind invariably turns to declamation and melody 
to express emotion, and the negro falls instinctively into 
lyric poetry of a boastful character in moments of great 
excitement: 



258 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" De ole slave cotchers done gone der way, 
Can't fer ter keep de ole woman sal'e ; 
De ole slave cotchers dey better blin' der eyes, 
Don't fer ter know when de ole nigga dies." 

Thus chanted Aunt Monin victoriously as she 
mounted the last slope up to the high prairie. Her 
feelings became so excited she could not stay to finish 
her song of triumph, but ended in the dear old familiar 
Glory, halleluiah! in one great howl of joy as she got 
to the top. 

Carthage, with it« little cluster of huts around the 
frame house, should have showed up clear against the 
western horizon, about three miles ahead. She had 
often seen it thus outlined against the red getting sun 
on returning from Tecumseh. There was nothing on 
the horizon line to-day. " Glory, halleluiah ! " died on 
Aunt Monin's lips, and a wail of despair came in its 
place. 

" Whar de home o' de honey-chile? " she cried, gaz- 
ing with wide open eyes at the strange scene. One little 
hut alone stood where there used to be at least a half 
dozen buildings. As she neared the familiar spot she 
perceived the heaps of blackened ruins, which only too 
clearly told their tale. Some cattle were standing in 
what had been Nancy's little flower garden. When tlie 
poor old negress saw this her heart overflowed in a tor- 
rent of passionate grief. It was like being suddenly 
confronted with the stifl'encd corpse of a baby of whose 
death she had not heard. It was the reality of the deso- 
lation brought home to her own sight and feeling. She 
wept and prayed by turns, as she wandered broken- 
hearted among the ruins of Nancy's home. 

" De ban' o' de 'stroyer is laid on my honey-chile," 
she cried aloud, "an' des'lation an' 'struction has 
fallen 'pon her. Aunt Monin warn't dar fer ter 'stain 
her an' comfort her in her 'fliction. Oh, my honey- 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 259 

chile! Whar yo' gone 'way from de sight o' yer po' ole 
Aunt Monin?" 

Weeping, praying, and singing by turns, the old 
woman spent hours wandering aimlessly about those 
blackened heaps. Sometimes she would tell herself 
which were the different houses upon whose ruins she 
was standing, but after every outburst she resumed her 
despairing cry for her lost " honey-chile." 

As the negroes had been all hurried away by Quan- 
trell's raiders before the houses were set on fire, they 
had not known that the place was burned, for prisoners 
don't hear much news from the captors. Aunt Monin 
therefore was ignorant of the destruction of Nancy's 
home, and the shock of her disappointment was corre- 
spondingly cruel after having lived all those days in 
hope and confidence. Had she reasoned on the subject 
she might have suspected it, but negroes never reason; 
they only feel, and that too when facts are forced upon 
them. Aunt Monin had never for one moment im- 
agined that she would not find Nancy in her old home, 
and the joy of once more seeing that child of her heart 
had been the only emotion that had occupied her mind 
during the whole time of her absence. She never 
thought or wondered about anything else. Nancy was 
at Carthage alone, and she. Aunt Monin, was going to 
return to her. The disappointment was so great, so 
cruel, that for some hours the poor old soul seemed ab- 
solutely stunned by it. Her wits, sharpened to the at- 
tainment of the one object of her life, seemed now to 
have deserted her. She couldn't think of anything. 
She didn't try. She was benumbed and gave up, mak- 
ing no mental effort whatsoever to face this new dis- 
aster. How long she would have stayed at Carthage 
singing over the dirge of her despair, it is impossible to 
say. She was at length aroused by the arrival of a 
darky who came to look after the cows that were in- 



260 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

quisitively poking around the ruins and trampling over 
Nancy's little flower garden. He was immensely sur- 
prised to see Aunt Monin, whom he knew. 

" Who done dat dar? " inquired Aunt Monin, point- 
ing to the blackened ruins. 

" Ole man Quantrell. We uns 'lowed he done run 
yo' niggas off," replied the darky. 

" De day o' judgment'll come ter him. He'll have 
ter answer to de angel o' de Lo'd f o' de evil dat he done. 
He'll have ter pay back to de Lo'd in suff'rin' fo' de 
'struction an' des'lation o' dish hyar home, an' de Lo'd 
he'll sen' his soul to hell for retribution," said Aunt 
Monin, indulging in the luxury of a deferred vengeance. 

The darky was impressed with the notion of this 
being a sort of prayer meeting; accordingly he said 
" Glory, halleluiah! Amen," and rolled up his eyes until 
the whites only remained visible. 

" Whar Miss Nancy gone ? " she next inquired. 

" Gone off East," he said, repeating what he had 
casually heard. " She an' de mad nigga, Susanner, 
done gone off together." 

Aunt Monin began to wail afresli. The friendly 
darky at length persuaded her to come home with him, 
so that " his ole woman could fix her up and feed her." 
Having now no aim or object in life and no plans of 
any sort, she went willingly enough with him. She 
stayed some little time with these kindly souls, making 
no effort to find Nancy beyond asking those she hap- 
pened to meet " whar she done gone ? " Her return 
from Papinsville across the border back to Carthage had 
been executed with such energy and such skill it may 
seem surprising that the same person should now be in- 
capable of further effort. The journey from over the 
border presented difficulties, no doubt, but they were all 
difficulties she could grapple with, because she under- 
stood them. The foxlike necessity for walking at night 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 261 

SO as to keep out of sight of the bushwhackers was a 
stratagem within her comprehension; the physical ex- 
ertion was not much at her age, buoyed up as she was by 
the hope of soon seeing Nancy again. Now that that 
hope was gone, she seemed to sink at once into helpless- 
ness and to have lost the power of devising any plans. 
How to set about finding her honey-chile in that vast 
vague region known as " the East " was a problem quite 
beyond her powers to solve. She could, of course, 
neither read nor write, and if she could I don't know 
that the accomplishment would have helped her much. 
The only thing that occurred to her was to " ax folks," 
and unfortunately she did not chance across the Wil- 
sons, the only people who could have told her anything 
of her lost one. Having come to this decision in consul- 
tation with her negro hosts, she again, according to their 
advice, chose Kansas City as the place where asking 
would be of the most use. In this she was well advised 
apparently, since Kansas City was the gate of northern 
Kansas — the gate, moreover, through which most people 
passed on their way to and from the interior. 

She soon became known on the levee at Kansas City. 
She used to go down to the steamboat landing to meet 
all the boats coming up or down the river, but it was 
mostly the up-river steamers she haunted with particu- 
lar perseverance; for having come to think Nancy was 
gone East she was forever hoping to get news of her 
from that direction. The steamboat men took a friend- 
ly interest in her and used to buoy her up with false 
hopes; it seemed to them so pathetic to see that old 
negress always at the landing, day after day, wistfully 
scanning the hurrying passengers for a face she was 
never destined to see among them. The negro hands 
on the boats in especial were interested in her quest, and 
made inquiries down the river as far even as St. Louis, 
all to no purpose of course, since each revolution of the 



262 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

paddle wheel eastward took them away from where 
Nancy was baking her pumpkin pies and boiling her 
bacon and beans. 

Aunt Monin's search was not wholly in vain. A 
friend turned up one morning on board the boat from 
St. Louis, a grinning, delighted friend, none other than 
the redoubtable Sambo, who appeared in all the glory of 
first-class waiterhood on board the steamer. Her heart 
leaped with joy to see his happy conceited face once 
more, but she wasn't going to let on before him, not 
she. Eying him therefore with a glance of stern in- 
quiry she asked: 

" Yo', Sambo, whar yo' bin all disli time? What fo' 
yo' nebber come back befo'? I'se bin waitin' a long 
while." 

" I'se pusson what had speriences," replied Sambo 
in his best manner, which had become several degrees 
finer since he was a steamer hand in regular employ- 
ment. " I'se done seed a heap. Aunt Monin, since we 
uns was run off by Quantrell. I'se bin in a big fight." 

He had, in fact, escaped from his captors near the 
Mississippi, for they had suddenly to scatter, owing to 
the unexpected approach of some Federal troops. One 
of those numberless small conflicts between General 
Price's forces and the Federals took place, and Sambo, 
hearing the sound of heavy guns, crept into a hollow log 
and lay there for a day and a night in mortal terror. 
He was far beyond the range of the largest gun except 
in his imagination, but he endured all the frights of a 
real battle in the most vivid completeness. 

" Why don't yo' make 'quiries 'bout Miss Nancy? " 
asked Aunt Monin jealously. 

" I'se gwine ter. I'se gwine ter pay my 'spects to 
Miss Nancy dish hyar bressed day," replied Sambo with 
alacrity. 

" Boy, I'se done lost her," said Aunt Monin, catch- 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 263 

ing his arm anxiously and gazing at him with wistful 
eyes. " Dar ain't bin nary minute since we was run off 
dat I don't think 'bout my chile, but de Lo'd's deaf 
to my prayer. I'se done lost her, and I can't find her." 

Aunt Monin's voice trailed off into a wail of sorrow. 

" I'se gwine ter look for her. Don't yo' make no 
mo' lamentation. I'll fin' her, Aunt Monin," said Sam- 
bo, never the one to think lightly of his own powers. 

"Wharyo'look?" 

" I'se gwine ter make 'quiries roun' 'mong de white 
gemblemen. I'se got consid'ble 'quaintance 'mong 
white gemblemen now," said Sambo, swelling with im- 
portance. Aunt Monin was too eager in her quest to 
think of damping his courage, otherwise she would have 
put a pin into the outrageously distended balloon of his 
self-conceit. 

One day in high midsummer Sambo arrived at the 
landing stage in a state of turbulent excitement. 

"Ho, Aunt Monin!" he shouted triumphantly; 
" look hyar! I'se foun' him fer yo'." 

" Has yo' got word o' my honey-chile ? " demanded 
the old woman, whose mind seemed now capable of 
holding only one idea. 

" Mos' as good as dat," said Sambo. " Mas'r Cap- 
ting Charlie Heaton he on de steamboat. He come fer 
ter git Miss Nancy." 

A long, gaunt, cadaverous creature, with shoulders 
sticking out like plough handles, and flabby clothes 
flopping around legs like telegraph posts, came along 
the gang^vay. He had a yellow-greenish face and a long 
beard. Of Charlie Heaton's handsome face there re- 
mained nothing recognisable except his eyes. To such 
a pass had a wound and swamp fever reduced the once 
dashing soldier. He had considered himself an invalid, 
but the thought that Nancy was gone and must be found 
by him seemed to endow his lean body with an almost 



264 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

superhimian energy, lie had come back on sick leave 
to see Nancy, and to be petted and nursed by her back 
into the life which he had all but lost in the cause to 
which he had devoted himself. After long, weary 
months of illness and suffering it seemed to him that 
perhaps his atonement was complete and that she would 
forgive him. And now, just as he was at the end of his 
journey, he seemed to have come also to the end of 
his hopes. 

The disappointment had the exactly opposite effect 
upon him from what it had had on Aunt Monin. It 
roused him to instant energy and action. Sambo had 
told him all there was to be told, and before he reached 
Kansas City his plans were made, 

" Dish is de han' o' de Lo'd! " exclaimed Aunt ]\Io- 
nin, as she saw him and recognised the advent of a su- 
perior intelligence to be added now to her own devotion 
in prosecuting the quest. 

" I guess we'll find her out somehow," said he, with 
kindly encouragement, in reply to the old nurse's rhap- 
sodies. 

He proceeded in a most methodical manner, one 
which brought result so speedily that Aunt Monin saw 
in it a special providence, and became more and more 
mystical day by day. Captain Heaton simply went to 
the Government office at Lecompton and found out who 
paid the taxes on Nancy's quarter section of land. He 
took both Sambo and iVunt Monin with him, for he 
knew that the surest way to Nancy's heart was through 
those slaves for whose sake she had sacrificed so much. 
Sambo was intelligently useful. Aunt Monin was ecstat- 
ically hopeful and in a perennial state of composing 
songs of triumph relative to her meeting again with her 
" honey-chile," Having discovered the owner of the 
land, it was easy to learn Nancy's whereabouts from him. 

These various inquiries had consumed some little 



AUNT MONIN'S QUEST 2G5 

time, so that it was not until the evening of the 31st of 
August that Heaton at length found himself driving to- 
ward the town of Lawrence. The 21st of August, 1863, 
was a black day in the annals of Lawrence, and as Hea- 
ton looked down upon the town his heart stood still with 
horror. 

Instead of the bright little town nestling among the 
trees on the Kaw Kiver, a great smoking gap of black- 
ened ruins lay between Winthrop Street and Warren 
Street, while on either side of Massachusetts Street two 
long lines of shapeless cinders marked where the busi- 
ness houses had stood. Columns of smoke rose on the 
motionless air from a dozen widely separated points of 
the town. But it was not the smoke nor the blackened 
heaps bordering Massachusetts Street that made Hea- 
ton's eyes dilate with horror. It was the quick, sharp 
sounds of stray pistol shots here and there and the long- 
drawn wailings of women who were crouching over ob- 
jects that lay upon the ground in the streets. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 

We left Nancy running her eating house at Law- 
rence with the help of Susannah. We find her there 
on the 1st of August working steadily and brayely at 
the same business. She had come to be pretty well 
known in Lawrence, where she had arrived as a total 
stranger not so many months before. John P. Eidg- 
way, who would have been a good friend to her, was far 
away. He had been drafted off as a soldier — not having 
adopted the desperate measure of drawing his front 
"teeth — and though he had not Heaton's dreamy en- 
thusiastic patriotism, he had plenty of pride, and de- 
termined, as he must be a soldier, to be the best there 
was going. And that is just what he was, aboiit the 
best cavalry soldier that ever threw a leg across a saddle. 
He was far away in Tennessee and knew nothing about 
Nancy's coming to Lawrence. She did not lack for 
friends, however. Far from it. 

The persons who frequented the new eating house 
were mostly teamsters; that is to say, young men who 
carried freight to and fro between Lawrence and the 
neighbouring towns. These were not slow to find out 
what a charming landlady it was who presided at the 
little eating house. Such attractive girls did not often 
appear before their delighted eyes, and it is not an exag- 
geration to say that Nancy might have been engaged 
every week to a new suitor if she had permitted half of 
2GG 



THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 267 

the men to make love to her who evinced a desire to do 
so. At last she fairly took flight from her too ardent 
admirers and devoted herself to the kitchen, while Su- 
sannah was sent in to wait on the men at dinner. Under 
the steady influence of hard work, the mad mulatto 
woman had settled down into being a quiet and fairly 
efficient servant. She never gave way now to those 
crazy outbursts of excitement, and Nancy hoped she was 
going to get over them altogether. 

Suddenly one day Susannah was reduced to a state 
of helpless abject terror by the appearance of a new 
guest at the eating house. He was a tall man of about 
thirty-five, wearing the ordinary big hat, red shirt, and 
heavy riding boots of the plains. There was nothing 
remarkable about him. He seemed a well set up, vigor- 
ous man with face bronzed by long exposure to the ele- 
ments. He had a stern look, and his dark eyebrows met 
in a frown, but one sometimes sees this expression in 
people of the gentlest character if the skin of their fore- 
head be loose and easily moved. This man came in a 
short time before dinner and sat down, thus intimating 
his desire to partake of the forthcoming meal. No 
sooner did Susannah see him than she dropped the 
pitcher of water she was carrying to the table and fled 
screeching to the kitchen. Nancy was keenly annoyed. 
She found it impossible to quiet the woman or to dis- 
cover the cause of her outburst. Nothing remained, 
therefore, but for her to go into the dining room her- 
self, leaving Susannah in charge of the kitchen, thus 
reversing their respective duties. 

Nancy's appearance, as unexpected as it was wel- 
come, was the signal for z volley of delighted exclama- 
tions and comments from the assembled men, to most 
of whom she was well known and to many of whom she 
was an object of hopeless devotion. The stranger looked 
up at the commotion and his eyes encountered Nancy's. 
18 



268 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

*' By thunder! " he exclaimed, starting to his 
feet. 

Nancy started too and turned very white, but she 
did not drop the dish of beans she was carrying; she 
only gripped it the tighter. 

" Wal, stranger, I guess you're surprised at some- 
thing," remarked the man opposite, eying him sternly. 

" I was for a moment," said the newcomer, sitting 
down agaiA, but not taking his eyes oif Nancy. 

She had regained her colour and something more 
than was usual, for her cheeks glowed brightly and her 
eyes seemed to sparkle. The men gazed at her in ad- 
miration; only the new guest frowned as well as stared. 
Some of the rejected ones felt this to be an indirect in- 
sult to their bewitching landlady, and would in a mo- 
ment have made it the ground for picking up a quarrel 
then and there, only they knew that Nancy didn't allow 
any brawls to take place at her table. They accord- 
ingly endeavoured to be sarcastic. 

" Wal, stranger, guess this is your fust visit to Law- 
rence, anyhow," commented a young fellow who sat op- 
posite the glum visitor. 

" No, sir, I've been here before." 

" Sorter 'lowed as you hadn't seed Miss Nancy afore, 
as you was kinder surprised." 

" I have seen Miss Nancy Overton often." 

" Land! Miss Nancy didn't look as she was all-fired 
glad to see you." 

" I don't inquire into the reasons of ladies' doings, 
but I always do of men," replied the black-browed 
stranger with unmistakable enmity. Silence fell upon 
the guests, who plied their knives with speed and effec- 
tiveness. Nancy waited upon them without a word. 
When the dinner was over, all the men rose to go about 
their several affairs. Only the stranger remained be- 
hind, obstinately sitting on his bench, staring vacantly 



THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 269 

up at the rafters of the low room, bent on outstaying 
every one else. With many a wrathful glance his late 
table associates passed him and went out, and finally 
when they were all gone he got up and walked boldly 
into the small kitchen. Susannah fled at the sight of 
him out through the back door and hid behind the wood 
pile. Nancy held her ground^ although a close observer 
would have seen that she was both nervous and fright- 
ened at his presence. 

"Nancy, has it come to this?" he said, with more 
gentleness of manner than any one would have thought 
him capable of from the roughness and gruffness he had 
maintained in the dining room. 

" I am living here. I have done so for some time," 
answered Nancy very quietly. 

" As drudge to rough teamsters? " 

" No; as a free woman Avho is working for her liv- 
ing," retorted she, with something of her old spirit 
coming back to her. 

" I don't see any difference. You are a mere servant 
to these men." 

" I am not. I am mistress of this house, and I allow 
in this room only those whom I choose," she said with 
suggestive firmness. 

" I ain't going to get angry with you, Nancy," he 
resumed in a conciliatory manner, " but you can't stay 
here. I advise you to leave as soon as you can." 

" James Harte, you forget who you are talking to," 
said Nancy haughtily. " I don't leave luy own home 
at the order of a stranger, I can tell you." 

" I wish you wouldn't call me a stranger. I mean 
Avell by you," answered Harte, for it was he who had so 
strangely appeared at Nancy's eating house. 

" I am sure you do," said she, at once softening. 

He seemed at a loss how to proceed. He looked 
around, frowned^ appeared on the point of speaking, and 



270 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

finally got up, saying he would come again in the 
evening, 

" I want to talk with you, Nancy, so don't have any 
of those men around. It will be the worse for them and 
for you." 

He spoke in a masterful way, to which Nancy was 
but little accustomed and which grated on her proud 
spirit. 

" If you want to see me for a short while I can spare 
the time after the work is over. Come at eight o'clock," 
she said, not daring to refuse to see him and yet dread- 
ing his visit keenly. She suspected that he wanted to 
renew his suit, and she considered that if he was going 
to live in Lawrence it might be just as well to get it 
over once for all and to make him clearly understand 
that she could never listen to him. There was a curious 
note in Harte's manner that Nancy failed to explain to 
herself — an air of command, as if his impetuous temper 
had been growing in its self-assertion until now it would 
brook no denial. He had a careless air of peremptori- 
ness, as if he was in the habit of ordering men about 
and of being obeyed. She looked forward, therefore, 
to the evening's talk with no little trepidation. 

Punctual to the minute tliere he was, looking, if pos- 
sible, sterner than ever, with the black frown deepening 
over his eyes. It was a handsome face, but one that was 
not pleasant to look upon, for there were possibilities of 
cruelty lurking about that set mouth, and the blue-gray 
eyes looked as if they could be relentless enough. James 
Harte had changed a good deal since Nancy last saw 
him, and he had changed for the worse. Life was not 
softening his rugged nature, but was casting it into 
harder and more immovable lines. 

" I guess you don't forget what we talked about the 
last time I saw you down in Missouri," said Harte, seat- 
ing himself opposite Nancy and looking her squarely in 



THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 271 

the face. His eyes were Bot those to sink before any 
one's, whether man's or woman's. 

" Yes, I remember, James, and no doubt you remem- 
ber what my answer was. It is the same now." 

" I hadn't inquired about that yet," said Harte with 
a shght sneer. 

Nancy flushed at this taunt. 

" I guess you're a regular out and out free-state 
woman by this time? " was his next somewhat unlooked- 
for observation. 

" I am more against slavery than ever. This war 
doesn't make folks love it. I should think even you 
might understand that. I suppose you are secesh, aren't 
you ? The war is costing us all that is nearest and dear- 
est," said Nancy earnestly. 

" Exactly. And I reckon you'd be glad to do 
anything you could to save the folks on your side, 
eh?" 

Nancy looked at him inquiringh^, but did not reply. 

" Now I'm coming to the point where Ave left off in 
Missouri three years ago. You wouldn't marry me then, 
because you didn't care about me, and I couldn't offer 
you enough to make you care about me. Things are 
changed now, Nancy. There ain't many things I can't 
offer you that a woman would want, and I say I love 
you all the same. You are the only girl I ever saw with 
a spirit I could admire. I've seen enough girls that 
would have been willing and glad to have me, but I 
don't want a mean-spirited, clinging wife. I want a wife 
with a spice of the devil in her, like you, Nancy. I don't 
believe there's anything would frighten you, by gosh, 
and I admire that, I do." 

Nancy listened in speechless amazement to this ex- 
traordinary declaration of love. 

" You don't seem to have understood what I said," 
she observed at length. 



272 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" Yes, I understood right enough," he interrupted, 
and then continued in the same measured, stern voice, 
as if he were reading out the rules of punishment to a 
mutinous regiment. " You don't love me, and you 
think you won't marry me. Well, women often marry 
men they don't particularly care for, if the men can 
give them something they do care for very much. Now 
I can do this. You are a free-state woman, and you 
would like your own folks round here to escape the 
horrors of war. Listen. If you'll marry me I'll give 
you the town of Lawrence — the property and the lives 
of the people safe. There ain't another girl 'twixt here 
and Memphis can boast of an offer like that." 

Nancy was frightened. She felt sure the man was 
mad. She was alone, and he looked black and stern 
enough for any piece of devilry. She gazed at him fasci- 
nated with fear — she whom he had been just praising as 
a girl who was afraid of nothing. 

" What's your answer? " 

" I don't understand what you mean. IIow can you 
give me Lawrence? " 

" I can give it to you, and I will do so, by God, if 
you'll marry me. But you must be quick. Maybe I'm 
playing with my life, and most folks would say I was a 
darned fool too; all for the sake of a girl who don't care 
one wink of her bright eyes for me. You must answer 
quick and straight, for I ain't the man to dangle round a 
woman's skirts, even if it's you. You must say yes or 
no to-night. To-morrow it will be too late; I shall be 
gone. If you'll come away with me in the morning we'll 
get married right away. I'll give you Lawrence, the 
lives of the men, the homes of the women and children. 
Say yes, Nanc)'', and you Avon't regret it. You'll have 
done more for your folks and the side you take than 
two hundred soldiers; there ain't another woman be- 
tween llie Potomac and the Mississippi could do half as 



THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 273 

much. Say no, and your life won't be long enough for 
your remorse." 

The danger was very near, but mad or no, Nancy 
must meet him, and she did so with a direct refusal. He 
stopped, and she could hear him breathing heavily while 
his nostrils twitched. She knew the furious temper of 
old, and wondered where the storm would break, and 
how she should withstand it. 

" Think again, Nancy. Lawrence against a girl's 
fancy," he said, making an effort to control himself. 

" I don't believe a word of what you say, James 
Ilarte. You think to frighten me into marrying you 
by this bugbear of a story." 

" It's the truth, I swear to God it is," he interrupted. 

" Lawrence isn't yours. I don't know what you 
mean by ' giving ' it to me. Free cities don't lie in the 
hollow of a man's hand, like an ear of corn." 

" Don't it, by thunder! Lawrence does lie in the 
hollow of my hand, and I can give it to you as a wedding 
gift, or I can " 

" You are raving mad, James Harte, and I won't 
listen to any more of your wild words," interrupted 
Nancy vehementl}^, as she saw the door open and two 
of her oldest and most respected boarders come into 
the apartment. Never before did she look upon their 
rough faces with such joy. Harte turned with a 
smothered oath, and in a few moments rose to leave 
the room. As he said good-bye he repeated under his 
breath: 

" Think again, Nancy. I give you one more chance." 

" Never! " said she boldly, confident now her friends 
were near. 

" Then damn Lawrence and you! " said Harte, furi- 
ously grinding his teeth as he strode from the room to 
the great relief of Nancy. What he had meant by his 
threats or whether he had meant anything, she did not 



274 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

stop to inquire; she was only thankful he was gone, 
never, she hoped, to return. 

Try as she might to dismiss all memory of him from 
her mind, the recollection of his threats was soon forced 
upon her, for the air was full of rumours. Vague 
whispers went about, anxious inquiries were made which 
none could answer. One of those chronic periods of 
excitement and suspense was creeping upon Lawrence 
when the word " raid " was passed from mouth to 
mouth. The teamsters at the eating house talked loudly 
about it and continuously, and the news was not long in 
reaching Nancy in the midst of her beans and bacon 
and her hot soda biscuits. It came upon her that per- 
haps this might be the explanation of James Harte's 
curious threat and still more curious offer. She spoke 
about it to some of her boarders. They were convinced 
he was a spy, and were consequently full of regret that 
they hadn't " dropped him on sight." Word passed 
around that spies were abroad, and this did not tend to 
allay the excitement. Help was asked from Fort 
Leavenworth, and two cannon came lumbering along, 
only to be met by orders from headquarters to go 
home again, so they lumbered back. Such is military 
prescience. General Collamore, the mayor, heard re- 
ports of Nancy's late visitor, and the eating house was 
amazed to see him on horseback prance up to its modest 
door. Nancy was summoned from her pumpkin pies, 
and appeared with bare arms and a snowy dab of flour 
like a white rose ornamenting her black hair. The 
mayor, being but a man, smiled at the pretty young 
landlady and called her " my dear." 

He inquired minutely into the appearance and tactics 
of the spy she was supposed to have had under her roof, 
and Nancy with a sweet blush told him of James TLarte's 
singular offer of marriage. 

"And you said no, didn't you?" asked the mnyor, 



THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 275 

distinctly amused at what he took to be a lover's 
stratagem. 

" Of course I refused," answered Nancy. 

'' Quite right, my dear. You are far too pretty for a 
rascally butternut. You just wait until the gallant boys 
in blue come marching home victorious, and then you 
choose a dashing soldier for yourself," said the cheer- 
ful mayor. 

A look of such unmistakable pain passed over the 
young girl's sweet face that the kindly mayor saw he 
had touched what was perhaps an aching wound. 

" My child," he said gently, " you have chosen a 
loyal soldier already. I trust all goes well with him." 

" I don't know. He went away long ago," she said 
quietly. 

" God grant he may come back safe to you! " 

The mayor rode away, feeling that, except for the 
pleasure of looking upon a very pretty face and hearing 
a sweet young voice, he had certainly wasted some of 
the public time which might have been better employed 
in arranging for the defence of the town. 

The excitement continued to increase. People went 
about in fear and trembling. Arms were collected at 
the courthouse, and every man was ordered to go there 
upon the first appearance of danger. Two or three com- 
panies of State militia came in from neighbouring towns 
and idled around the streets. 

Nothing happened. 

The hot days scorched along, and scouts returning 
from the direction of Franklin and the border reported 
all quiet there. The overland mail ran unmolested 
through Black Jack and streeled ofE toward the limit- 
less West in a continuous cloud of dust of its own 
raising. 

The little eating house stood on the very western 
limit of Lawrence, an isolated shanty in its own plot of 



276 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

ground. Just behind it was a large field of corn, now 
in its summer height, with great nodding plumes of 
florescence on the ends of its lofty stalks. Occasionally, 
when there was a little wind stirring, Nancy iised to 
listen to the rustle of the large ribbonlike leaves. It 
reminded her of the sound of the trees down in Missouri, 
a sound she had not often heard since coming to Kan- 
sas, and it was welcome to her as a memory of brighter 
days. The weeks passed, and the idea of a raid being 
imminent passed also. Nobody saw any sign of the 
gathering storm, and the military authorities at Kansas 
City were cheerfully serene. Lawrence had been so 
often frightened that people began to laugh at her fears. 
The militiamen laughed loudest, and, turning back dis- 
gusted, went home to their farm work again, confident 
in the strength of the soldiers to stop raiders from com- 
ing over the border. The panic was over, and Lawrence 
went about its manifold business on the 20th of August, 
and expected to do so on the next and following days. 

Early hours used to obtain on the prairie, and Nancy 
was Just opening the door at half past five on the morn- 
ing of the 21st to intimate that breakfast would be ready 
in half an hour, when her " chore boy " bounced in, ab- 
solutely green with terror. This was a young darky who 
used to draw water from the well and fetch and carry 
generally for the household. 

" Oh, Lordy, Lordy! " he cried, trying to creep under 
the table. 

" What's the matter with you, Hercky? Has any- 
body beaten you?" asked Nancy, surprised at his con- 
duct. 

" Oh, Lordy, Lordy! I seed 'em," replied the de- 
moralized Hercules incomprehensibly. 

"Seen who?" 

" De bushwhackers ridin'-'long by de breshwood," 
said the shivering lad. 



THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 277 

" Nonsense! They were some of our troops. We are 
coing: to have soldiers here now. Get out from under 
the table and draw the water for breakfast. I want three 
bueketfuls." 

Hercules arose trembling and went to the well, his 
eyes rolling horribly in his head. Nancy watched him 
in scornful amusement for a second. He let down the 
bucket and had begun to wind up the windlass when his 
rolling eyes caught sight of some object that caused him 
violent emotion. 

" Oh, Lordy, dar dey is! I know dem butternuts. 
Oh, Lordy! " 

Without delay he sprang back out of reach of the 
windlass, let go the handle, and fled. The released 
handle flew violently round as the bucket fell back with 
a splash into the well. Hercules was out of sight in the 
cornfield, and a negro in a cornfield is as impossi])le 
to find as the proverbial needle in a bundle of hay. The 
corn was eight feet high, growing like sturdy bamboos 
covered with broad leaves, and the field contained forty 
acres. Five hundred men could hide in such a place. 

" Well, to be sure, talk of ghosts and the fear 
thereof! " said Nancy, smiling at the flight of the re- 
doubtable Hercules. She went herself to the well and 
began to wind up the bucket, but something caught her 
eye, for she turned very white. She did not let go the 
handle, but wound at it for dear life, and then left it 
standing on the edge of the well and ran back into the 
house, all of a tremble. 

" Susannah, the woods are full of bushwhackers! 
I saw them. Oh, what shall we do? " she said, with the 
instinct of a woman, which is to ask for help in the 
first moment of danger. 

" Ain't I got my flapjacks light wid de beating? " 
said Susannah inconsequently. Her mind was set to 
cooking, and could not be moved therefrom without 



278 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

some external excitement. This impetus was not lack- 
ing on the present occasion. A moment after the town 
rang with yells, shouts, and the quick reports of pistol 
shots. 

Nancy went to shut the door with a view to placing 
that feeble barrier between her and the danger. 

" Oh, Lordy, Lordy, dar's ole man Quantrell! " 
shrieked Susannah, and the name seemed to be taken 
up by a hundred voices. " Quantrell! Quantrell! " was 
echoed back from the houses. 

A tall man on a big horse galloped by the door. 
Nancy saw him as he flashed by. 

" I am Quantrell! Down with the blue-bellied Yan- 
kees! Shoot every one! " 

The figure was that of James Harte, but the face 
was that of a devil. 

They swarmed in from everywhere. The Waukarusa 
woods seemed to yield up men like falling leaves, so 
great was the multitude. They tJiundered up Main 
Street, firing right and left. Their horses bounded over 
the ground, and at every bound there was a shot sent 
into some door or window. Straight on to the new 
hotel they rushed as the big gong sounded, calling the 
guests from their beds. It was a rueful awakening. In 
batches and squads they were marched out, and many 
were shot down on the pavement, a few paces away from 
the house where they had lately been peacefully sleep- 
ing. Men were summoned to open their doors, and a 
quick shot was the death-dealing visitor they admitted. 
Women came tremblingly forth clasping their children 
in their arms, and the raiders first looted and then 
burned tlicir lionses. 

Lawrence, which had made ready for repelling an 
attack three weeks before, was now caught totally un- 
armed and unprepared. Arms and ammunition were 
locked up in fatal security in the courthouse, and that 



THE BURNING OP LAWRENCE 279 

Quantrell had seized. It was not for nothing that the 
raider chief had come into Lawrence to see how the 
land lay and to note where his attack should be deliv- 
ered. In the intervals of his strange wooing of Nancy 
he had not been idle. 

There was no resistance, no fighting even, only a 
string of murders enduring nearly all day. Nancy re- 
mained for some hours in her house, dreading to leave 
it and yet fearful of remaining. The flying townsfolk 
made for the woods. Some got there, some crept into 
the ravine overgrown with brushwood which bisects the 
town. They were pursued by the raiders to the very 
edge of this ravine, but no one dared explore it. Desper- 
ate men, driven at bay in a thicket, were not the prey 
the raiders cared to face. Scores of fugitives made for 
the cornfield behind Nancy's house. Poor panting 
creatures with glaring bloodshot eyes rushed wildly past 
her door and leaped into the kindly shelter of the tall 
growing maize. After them came the butternuts begirt 
with pistols, firing at every step. Eunning aim is not a 
steady aim, so most of the fugitives gained the corn- 
field; a few who were wounded were overtaken and shot 
in the very verge of the safe retreat. 

The sun rose higher and higher over the unhappy 
town. Not a breath of air was there to stir a leaf or to 
give movement to the dense suffocating smoke from the 
burning of the wooden houses. The heat was intoler- 
able, and those wretched fugitives cowering in the corn- 
field were going mad with thirst. The baking sun beat 
straight down on them now, the bamboolike stems of 
the corn giving no help and no shadow. Some of them 
crept cautiously to the edge next Nancy's house. They 
called to her in timorous tones. 

" Water! " was their cry. " Give us water, for God's 
sake! " 

Nancy heard the prayer, and hearing, answered it. 



2S0 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

She took bucket after bucket of cool life-giving water 
from her well down into the sweltering cornfield to the 
gasping fugitives hiding there. Coming out after one 
of these journeys of mercy, she found a troop of Mis- 
souri ans ransacking her house preparatory to setting it 
on fire. 

" What have you got in that cornfield? " they asked 
her. 

" Go in and see," she replied haughtily. "Go; you 
will find it the hottest place you've been in to-day. 
Try it." 

" Maybe it's the State militia coming up," suggested 
one of the raiders, who was employed in smashing 
Nancy's simple furniture. 

The words State militia set them furious. 

" Tell us or we'll throw you down the well. WTio's 
in there? " 

" Go. You'll find out," replied Nancy dauntlessly, 
well knowing that the best cliance she had of screening 
the fugitives was by letting the raiders imagine the field 
concealed the militia. 

" Take her to Quantrcll. He'll know how to make 
her speak," said one of the ruffians, evidently half 
drunk. 

She was seized in a moment and swung upon a horse. 
The rest of the party mounted fast. Susannah, scared 
from the house by the flames, at this instant rnslied 
out with her clothes on fire. Nancy tried to spring down 
from the horse and go to her assistance. 

" Are you fiends in human shape that you can see 
a woman burn to death ? " she cried in horror. 

" Eeckon I can quiet her screeches, anyhow," said 
one of the raiders, drawing his pistol and firing at the 
frantic woman. 

"Quit that, you damn fool! The chief don't 'low 
killin' o' women," roared a companion, who was evi- 



THE BURNING OF LAWRENCE 281 

dently a beginner at the work. The mulatto woman fell 
in a heap on the ground, and the last speaker took ofE 
his wide-brimmed hat and flapped out the flames. 

" Nigger women don't count in any orders as I know 
on," said the one who had fired, as he sulkily put up his 
weapon. 

" You'll bring Quantrell down on us, you blamed 
fool! " scolded the other. 

" I'll bring my revolver down on you this minute 
and let the daylight into you if you dare say another 
word to me," returned his fraternal companion in arms. 

Nancy made another effort to break away and go to 
Susannah's assistance, but a bird caught in a net was 
not more powerless than she. The men made sport of 
her frantic despair and without difficulty held her 
powerless. Eesigning herself to the inevitable, she re- 
mained sullenly quiet. One hopeless glance she cast 
back toward Susannah, who lay prone upon the ground, 
whether dead or not she could not say. Thus Nancy 
was separated from the last of her former slaves, from 
those poor creatures for whom she had sacrificed so 
mvich. Amid smoke and flame, a captive among brutal 
raiders, she disappeared from her little eating house in 
Ijawrence toward the middle of the day when that luck- 
less dwelling, together with half of the town, disap- 
peared off the face of the earth. 



CHAPTER XXIII 

NANCY MISSING 

This, then, was the sight that met Heaton's eye as 
he looked down upon Lawrence, a black, smoking mass 
in the centre of the town, and here and there red glow- 
ing flames where some of the houses last set on fire were 
slowly consuming their timbers. He was a soldier and 
had seen two years and a half of active warfare, he knew 
the grim details of his terrible profession very thor- 
oughly, but never before had he experienced such a 
heart-sickening shock as when he looked down upon 
Lawrence on that summer day. He knew at a glance 
Avhat had happened as well as if he had been told. It 
had been raided. 

A town that is burned by accident looks very differ- 
ent in its ruins from the town that is burned by the 
hand of the foe. In the former case the fire burns from 
one great centre, and the inhabitants, like ants, rudely 
disturbed in their nests, are seen hurrying hither and 
thither in endless confusion. The town that is pur- 
posely fired burns from many isolated points — here, 
there, everywhere — and the inhabitants, if there are any 
to be seen, are neither noisy nor numerous. Many are 
dead, more have fled, and those that remain are too 
terrified and too overwhelmed to make loud lament. A 
few women who have lost all may be heard pitifully 
wailing over the dead bodies of their husbands and sons, 
or they may be seen miserably searching among the 
383 



NANCY MISSING 283 

blackened ruins of their homes for some relic more pre- 
cious than life. 

Where was Nancy? An awful fear clutched at his 
heart, for he knew that although war is not waged 
against women, still a pretty and helpless young girl 
had a thousand dangers to meet in the sacking of a town 
by a band of irregular troops. Alas, poor Charlie, what 
a home-coming from the wars was this! 

Leaving Aunt Monin with the wagon and horses in 
the woods at the edge of the town, he and Sambo went 
forward cautiously, not knowing what might be the 
state of affairs. Sambo, not the bravest of mortals as 
we know, was from his inordinate vanity made stalwart 
on this occasion. He would not show cowardice before 
Mas'r Capting Heaton, and marched therefore sturdily 
alongside of his commanding officer, keeping a lynx- 
eyed watch on every side. He espied the skulking fugi- 
tives in the brushwood of the gorge, and at first thought 
them the enemy, but a nearer inspection showed him 
his mistake. The people, moreover, were beginning to 
come forth, assured as they were by the women that the 
raiders were gone. 

Then began the search for Nancy. No one in the 
distracted groups he questioned seemed to have heard 
her name, or else they had lost all memory of everything 
except their own immediate sorrows. Most of them 
indeed were looking for their own dead. One piteous 
father was frantically tearing at the red-hot cinders of 
his own house, trying to find some trace of his lost son. 
Poor father! Better for him if a kindly earth could 
have hidden what he found from his sight, leaving him 
with only the memory of his son living and in the first 
glow of his young manhood. In his two years and a 
half of soldiering Heaton had more than once searched 
a battlefield. He had sought the shattered remnants of 
his company after the repulse from Corinth. He knew 
19 



284 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

what it was to look for comrades among the disfigured 
bodies that dotted many a hard-fought field. His heart 
was not hardened by his war experience, but his nerves 
were steadied, so that he could look on unmoved at 
awful sights. But in all the battlefields he had searched 
it was only for soldiers and fighting men he looked. 
He had never hunted among the dead for the one 
he loved best on earth. That he might have to do 
among the blistering ruins of Lawrence, and his eyes 
were blinded with a burning agony of tears and his 
hands quivered as if he were new to the work and had 
not seen thousands of men die around him more than 
once. 

It could not be that Nancy, whose bright young 
figure rose before his memory so distinctly, was among 
those shapeless and charred masses that people were be- 
ginning to remove from among the ruins of the burned 
buildings. The thought was too horrible. He would 
not let it come into his mind. Still, amid the confusion 
he could not find any one who knew her or had ever 
heard of her little eating house, and thus he too wan- 
dered up and down Massachusetts Street half distracted 
with anxiety, while the weeping women were mourning 
over their dead laid out on the pathway. Sambo rushed 
hither and thither in a state of frantic grief, calling 
upon all and sundry to give him information with truly 
irregulated negro vehemence. By this time even the 
negroes began to take heart of grace and to creep forth 
out of their hiding places, and Sambo immediately 
pounced upon a couple, demanding to know " whar Miss 
Nancy done live?" There is a freemasonry among 
negroes and a power of quick interchange of news that 
amazes white people, who depend on the papers to do 
this for them. Sambo demanded news of the darkies, 
and they instantly supplied it. Thus it was he who dis- 
covered where the little eating house had stood, and 



NANCY MISSING 285 

thither he and Heaton rushed with panting eagerness. 
They found the house smoking in its ruins, and lying 
in the yard was Susannah wliere she had fallen when 
shot by the Missourian. The near approach of death 
had cleared the blurred vision of the poor creature. 
When the two men spoke to her she looked up and in- 
stantly recognised them. 

"My poor woman, can I help you?" asked Heaton 
pitifully. 

" No, Mas'r Heaton, I'se mos' done wid dish wicked 
worF." 

"Who are you?" asked the young man, astonished 
at being recognised. 

" I'se Miss Nancy's Susanner." 

"Where is she?" gasped he, kneeling down beside 
her to catch the feeble words. " Tell me. What has 
become of her? Did she escape? " 

" No, Mas'r Heaton, she's in de ban's o' de raiders. 
Dey done tote her off on boss." 

" Oh, my God! " cried the unfortunate young man 
to whom this answer carried an awful significance. 

" Which way did they go? How long are they gone? 
Can you tell me ? " 

" Dey go a while back," said Susannah faintly. " It 
war Mas'r Jeemes Harte what done de raid. I seed him 
ride in." 

" Dat de same as ole man Quantrell what run we uns 
off an' burn Miss Nancy's farm," said Sambo. " Mas'r 
Jeemes won't go fer ter hurt her, 'cause he wanted ter 
marry her down in ole Missouri." 

As consolation this news carried a sting in it for 
Heaton. 

" Sambo, stay with this poor woman and do what you 
can for her. I'm going to start the pursuit," said 
Heaton briefly. " Good-bye, Susannah; I'll try and 
bring Miss Nancy back to you." 



2S6 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

He walked rapidly off in the direction of the woods, 
where his wagon and horses were, 

" Sambo, yo' go 'long too," said Susannah. " Yo' 
can len' a han' in de fight. Yo' can't do nulfin ier me. 
I'se gwine dish night inter paradise. I done seed my 
ole man what war killed at Mine Creek. He mighty 
kin', an' he beckon ter me fer ter hurry up. An' Sambo 
he got de babby in de arms, an' dat chile he jess as fat 
an' cute as he can be. I'se powerful curious fer ter 
hurry up, an' I 'low I ain't gwine ter be long agoin'." 

The dying woman began to babble about her little 
baby. Sambo was eager to follow Mas'r Heaton and to 
be forward in the rescue of Miss Nancy, but dared not 
disobey orders. He hesitated what to do. At this 
moment a small darky came creeping out of the corn- 
field. This was the redoubtable Hercules, who seeing 
Sambo standing there came to the conclusion that the 
butternuts must be gone and that he might safely ven- 
ture forth. 

"Is yo' huntin' fer Miss Nancy?" he inquired. 

" Yaas, sonny, come hyar an' tell me whar she gone," 
said Sambo eagerly. 

" Down yonder," said the boj^ jerking his thumb 
over his shoulder in the direction of the river. 

" War dar powerful heap on 'em ? " 

" Nary heap; on'y four men. I seed 'em goin' 'long 
de track down by de ribber. I seed 'em from de corn- 
fiel'." 

Hercules brought some water in his hat and streamed 
it over the dying woman's face and hands to cool her 
burning wounds, but she was past all suffering. The 
Avater, however, seemed to revive her for the moment. 
Susannah, who had appeared all but dead, opened her 
eyes, and, seeing the two negroes there, spoke again: 

" Sambo, go 'long an' help save Miss Nancy," she 
said jerkily. " Tell her de ole mad nigga woman aiir't 



NANCY MISSING 287 

mad now. She gwine ter der place whar de Lo'd keep 
her babby-chile safe for her. Go 'long, Sambo." 

She relapsed into unconsciousness. They waited for 
the end. Suddenly raising herself, she spoke in a loud 
clear voice that startled them dreadfully. 

" What for yo' don't go an' save her? De raiders 
carry her dov/n to de big ribber whar de water run deep 
an' swif. Dey's gwine ter drown her. Save dat po' 
chile." 

Sambo gazed at her in a fascinated sort of fright as 
she sank back again. She was evidently breathing her 
last. 

" Yo' nigga," exclaimed Hercules, gripping Sambo 
by the arm, " dat what de butternuts gwine ter do. 
Dey's gwine ter drown Miss ISTancy. Oh, Lordy, Lordy! 
Dey hain't toted her by de big road to Franklin; dey 
done go by de track down 'long de ribber. Ole man got 
de rope roun' de saddle horn, an' dey tie her ban's 
behin' her back an' carry her off on de brown hoss. 
Lordy, Lordy! " 

" Is yo' shu'? " asked Sambo in a terrified voice. 

" Dey's gwine ter drown her," sobbed Hercules, who 
was very much attached to Nancy. " Drown her in de 
deep hole roun' beyon' de maple trees dar. I seed de 
rope on de saddle horn." 

The terrors that Hercules expressed with such ve- 
hemence infected Sambo. He did not stay to reason. 
Miss Nancy was in danger, and he, Sambo, must fly to 
the rescue. His first and only idea was to let Captain 
Heaton know. He captured a stray mule by a dexterity 
known only to a negro, and, leaping upon its astonished 
back, drove it by means of his flapping hat with a speed 
which only a negro can get out of a mule. 

Believing that Nancy was in the hands of a former 
lover from Missouri, Heaton could not bring himself to 
imagine that any immediate harm would come to her. 



288 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

whatever might be the distant result. Southern men did 
not often molest women. Therefore his plan was to 
organize a pursuit as rapidly as possible, and for this 
purpose he was proceeding to Blanton in order to as- 
semble men whose nerves had not been so shaken as was 
the case with the newly raided citizens of Lawrence. 
He thought it highly probable that from there he might, 
with even a small body of men, intercept the raiders, 
who would infallibly retreat by the Franklin road. He 
had not gone far in this direction when he was over- 
taken by the frantic Sambo on the barebacked mule. 

" Lordy, Lordy! Mas'r Capting Heaton, he done tote 
her off ter der ribber fer ter drown her. Ole Susanner 
and de nigga tole me so," was the appalling message he 
delivered as soon as he got within shouting distance. 
Never before or since was a team driven with such furi- 
ous speed as when Charlie Heaton, standing up in his 
wagon, lashed his horses along the road leading to the 
river followed by Sambo, urging on his mule with his 
flapping hat. What Heaton intended to do was not very 
clear in his own mind. He was too frantic to think or 
make any plan. Somewhere along that river bank Nancy 
was drowning, and he would save her or perish in the 
attempt. Men joined him as he dashed along, men who 
seemed to pick up the news from the air, or maybe it 
was from Sambo on the mule. They began to gather 
and to come swiftly by that pretty road that skirts the 
Kaw Elver, where the trees dip down into the clear 
Avater and tone its reflecting surface with their brilliant 
tints. A man coming out of the bush, and recognising 
that these were friends that now swept along, hailed 
him. 

" Stranger, halt there a minute. There's a gang o' 
bushwhackers just a little while back carried a girl down 
to the bend in the river. They were all pretty drunk 
and I " 



NANCY MISSING 289 

Heaton leaped from the wagon. 

"■ Which way ? Those are the ones we're after. — 
Sambo, here take this knife and do what you can to save 
Miss Nancy." Quick, sharjo, and soldierlike were his 
orders, but Heatou's face was ghastly to look upon and 
his eyes glared. His long thin hands were like eagle's 
claws and savagely gripped his weapons. He and Sambo 
crept into the brushwood in the direction indicated by 
their informant. After them came Aunt Monin, crawl- 
ing along like a fox, making no noise. Two or three 
more had come up by this time, and they too entered 
the bush at different points, so as to make sure of catch- 
ing: the bushwhackers. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THE EESCUE 

When Nancy had been led by her ruffian captors 
to their " chief " she had at first experienced a feeling 
of relief on beholding that he was none other than 
James Harte. The name of Quantrell had filled her 
with well-founded alarm, but when she saw that it be- 
longed to her old admirer James Harte she could not 
help feeling that he at least would allow no harm to be 
done to her. Perhaps this might have been so had Harte 
been in full possession of his faculties at this moment, 
but such was not the case. Nancy had some difficulty 
in recognising him even, he was so altered from what 
he had been a few days before when he had made her 
the strange offer of Lawrence if she would accept him. 
She imderstood him now, and she realized how truth- 
fully exact was his boast that he held the town in the 
hollow of his hand. He was now grimy-looking and 
dirty with the smoke of battle, but it was not the filth 
of his person that alarmed Nancy, it was the awful 
bloodshot glare of his eye. Standing on the ruins of 
the town he had destroyed, he was giving his orders for 
the withdrawal of his men when Nancy was brought up. 

" Take everything you like and burn the rest; then 
light out for the border." 

" Here's suthin ye'll like to take 'long, captain. 
She's bin givin' information to folks down in the corn- 
field over yonder. Maybe it's militia's thar," said one of 
290 



THE RESCUE 291 

Nancy's captors, thrusting her forward until she stood 
within a couple of feet of Quantrell. He glared at her 
with a savage scowl. 

" So, ho! You've come to your senses, have you? " 
he said with a jerk between his words that showed he 
had been drinking. 

"James Harte, what have you done?" said N'ancy 
sternly, hoping to overawe him with the steadiness of 
her manner. Poor girl! If that was her only defence it 
was not worth much. 

" I'm Quantrell, by thunder! Let no one dare to 
call me anything else or I'll let the daylight into him 
pretty quick," w^as his answer, which showed ISTancy that 
to try and reason with him in his present condition was 
utterly useless, and might be very dangerous. She looked 
helplessly around the group, but every face bore the mark 
of that increase of savagery that is obtained by a free 
x\se and abuse of whisky. Silence was the safest thing 
for her under these circumstances. Accordingly, she re- 
mained silent while the final orders were being given. 
Then she was hoisted on to a horse in front of a big 
man who spoke only a few words, but these betrayed his 
German origin. This individual appeared to be Quan- 
trell's right-hand man. 

A helter-skelter troop streamed out of Lawrence, 
a good many taking the Franklin road, others again 
going almost due east. To break up the band seemed 
to be their purpose, so that each party might the more 
readily escape into Missouri with the booty. A few well- 
loaded wagons moved forward as fast as possible, fol- 
lowed by a rabble on horseback, for the men were now 
so drunk and noisy they had lost all semblance of mili- 
tary order and discipline. Some distance behind this 
last band came Quantrell with his captive, his German 
lieutenant, and a few others. Nancy had no other 
thought but that they would carry her off into Missouri, 



292 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

and she hoped that when once there better feelings 
would prevail, and that she might eventually be set free. 
But when she saw that her captors were leaving both the 
Franklin road and the main body of their party, and 
were making for the river by a track that followed its 
banks, her heart gave a great throb of terror. They 
were not going to take her into Missouri. 

What were they going to do with her? 

She asked the German who was riding behind her on 
the big horse, but he only laughed, and his laugh had 
an evil sound in it. He, like the rest, reeked of whisky. 
She made a sudden movement as if to throw herself 
from the horse, and found to her dismay that not only 
were her hands bound, but that she was also tied to the 
German by a rope around his waist. She did not know 
when he had slipped the cord around her. She tried 
to look back at Quantrell, but he was riding straight 
behind, and she could only hear the tapping of his 
horse's feet on the ground. 

By and bye they reached the river flowing along 
under the sunlit trees. It flashed across her that they 
were going to drown her in their drunken fury and rage. 
Therefore they had brought her to this lonely spot, so 
as to be out of reach of the possible pity and interfer- 
ence of the less savage of the raiders. She was young, 
and the smooth-gliding, treacherous river would soon 
close over her and tell no tale. A choking lump rose in 
her throat. This, then, was the end. She had come 
here to die alone. It was not maybe the worst fate that 
might befall her. She would meet death calmly, and 
her haughty spirit rose. She would not lower herself to 
beg her life from these drunken ruffians. Her prayers 
would be rare sport for them to flout. She could and 
she would balk them of that brutal delight. 

They followed along by the river brink for some way 
until they came to a sort of clearing where a wood- 



THE RESCUE 293 

cutter must liave lately beeu at work, for a cord of wood 
was piled near by. Here they dismounted, lifted her 
from her horse and tied her to a tree. They were four 
men who now confronted Nancy — James Harte, the 
sullen German, and two others — all four more or less 
drunk. The two who were more drunk were perhaps a 
shade less cruel than the two who retained more of the 
tiger in their rage. 

" Well," said James Harte, speaking with less firm- 
ness and rapidity of enunciation than jSTancy had ever 
heard him speak before, " I reckon you know now I'm 
a man of my word, don't you ? " 

Nancy looked at him with wide-eyed terror, but did 
not reply to this vague question. 

" I offered you Lawrence if you'd marry me, didn't 
I? Offered you many lives, didn't I, if you'd say yes 
and marry me? " 

" And I said no," answered Nancy firmly, meeting 
his gaze unflinchingly. 

" You did. Eeckon you thought I wasn't going to 
keep my word; but I did. I offered you all those lives 
for your answer. I'm coming down in my bargain now. 
I'll offer you only one life to-day — your own. Maybe 
that'll make you listen to reason. Will you marry me, 
Nancy?" 

He pointed with dread significance to the river. 
" It's your own life against the answer. Eemember 
that." 

"No, I will never marry you. RuflSan! Murderer! 
Drown me if you will; I can die." 

Her lips were colourless, but they neither faltered 
nor trembled as she hurled out her defiance. 

Harte uttered a savage oath. He seemed to hesitate 
a moment, looked around, and, going up to the w^ood 
pile, said: 

" That's your answer, is it? Well, this is mine." 



204 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

He began to pull down the logs of wood from the 
pile, muttering something to the German, who helped 
him. The other two looked sulkily on, taking no part 
one way or the other. 

Nancy had nerved herself to meet death calmly and 
with dignity, but it was death by drowning, where the 
merciful river would receive her into its bosom, and in 
a moment or two would close her life without sharp 
agony. She had not summoned her nerve to meet an- 
other and far more horrible death. 

A wild cry burst from her colourless lips. 

" God! Are you going to burn me to death? 
Are you men born of women that you can stand and 
look on such a deed as that? " she added, appealing to 
the two who seemed mere spectators of the scene. 

" No, I reckon I won't look on," replied one of the 
pair. " This ain't what I joined this ride for. I'm go- 
ing to git, I am." 

He walked deliberately off, mounted his horse, and 
rode away without once turning his head. His com- 
panion seemed undecided what to do. Quantrell and 
the German dragged the logs to the river's edge, and the 
latter laughed as he did so. Quantrell was a man of 
fierce passions which three years of border ruffianism 
had brutalized, but he would never have done what he 
did had he not been inflamed by drink. He was enraged 
against Nancy, and his reason being obscured by drink, 
he did not distinctly understand what he was doing, 
nor the full savagery of the act. The German's head 
was steadier; he, though also drunk, understood quite 
well what was on foot. 

" Reckon I'll sorter stan' sentry down thar on the 
road, so as ter keep folks from spilin' this picnic party," 
observed the third ruffian, who had been standing look- 
ing on with slight show of interest in the proceedings of 
the other two. He accordingly walked off, leading his 



TEE RESCUE 295 

horse away through the trees, leaving Nancy alone 
with the two men from whose rage she had most to 
dread. 

The poor girl lived through a liftime of agony as 
her terrified eyes fixed in an awful stare gazed at them 
pulling about the logs. 

They made a platform of the timber, tying the logs 
together with their lariat ropes, and when thus tied 
they began to heave them into the water by means of a 
couple of poles. Once floating in the river, the logs of 
course spread out level and presented the upper surface 
of an uneven raft. A couple of light boughs were added 
transversely, and these two were also tied down to the 
rest of the logs. When the raft was thus complete the 
men laughed and seemed pleased at their work. Then 
they came to their prisoner tied to the tree, unfastened 
her, and rapidly placing her on the raft, shoved it off 
into the river by means of their poles. 

So quick had been the climax that Nancy had 
scarcely time to realize that they were not going to burn 
her alive, as she at first imagined, before she found her- 
self floating down the Kaw River on this frail bark. 
Her weight sent the logs down farther into the water, 
which rippled up between the openings and splashed 
around the ends. The current caught her and swung 
her soon into the middle of the stream, as, huddled in a 
heap with her face hidden in her hands, she started on 
her fearsome voyage. The two men laughed loud and 
long, as though they relished the complete success of 
their enterprise — a laugh that was heard by a stealthy 
negro creeping along in the brushwood. 

That stealthy negro was Sambo, who, realizing that 
he was nearing some one, and most probably the very 
men they were in search of, crept off to warn Heaton, 
who was beating the bush close along the water's edge 
a little way back. 



296 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

" Mas'r capting, I 'specks dey's yonder/' said Sambo 
in a quick whisper. " I hearn 'em laugh, an' dar's 
hosses too." 

Together they now crept forward cautiously, not 
knowing how many men there might be. A sudden sur- 
prise was their only chance. They heard the sound of 
horses as they came to the little clearing where the 
wood pile was all scattered about. 

" There isn't any one here. You've made a mis- 
take," said Heaton, preparing to rush on in further 
search. 

" Dey was here, mas'r. Dem's fresh tracks," said 
Sambo, with negro instinct at once examining the 
ground. " Dish hyar water's muddy. Dey's bin f oolin' 
in de ribber." He went to the water's edge, peering 
on the ground. Heaton examined the bank with fever- 
ish haste. 

Suddenly Sambo nearly jumped into the river. 

"Lordy, mas'r, see dat dar! Dar's a woman out on 
de planks. Look dar, gwine down de ribber! Lordy, 
it's Miss Nancy! " 

Heaton looked, but with eyes that could not compete 
with a darky's telescopic vision. He saw, indeed, some- 
thing on the water floating downstream. 

Sambo screamed with excitement. 

" Dat dar Miss Nancy fo' shu'. De nigga boy said 
dey was gwine ter drown her, and dat's de way dey 
done it! " 

"Miss ISTancy, yo ho!" he bawled as loud as he 
could, and Heaton too yelled, but the huddled figure on 
the raft did not move. Aunt Monin and a couple of 
men now came up through the bush and were added 
to the party. 

" Yo', Aunt Monin, ain't dat dar a woman? " asked 
Sambo, catching her by the arm and pointing to 
that moving object on the face of the waters. Aunt 



THE RESCUE 297 

Monin brought her far-sighted old eyes to bear upon 
it for a moment, and said : 

" Dat my honey-chile ! " 

Then she, too, sent a loud cry down the river after 
that forlorn figure on the raft. Heaton fired a couple 
of shots to attract her attention, but Nancy had heard 
too many cries and pistol shots on that fearsome day 
for her numbed brain to take any cognizance of either 
the one or the other. She never moved, but crouched 
desf)airingly on her narrow raft. 

Then Aunt Monin came and stood in the very edge 
of the water, and, raising her old head high in the air, 
began to sing an old lullaby song with which long ago 
she used to hush JSTancy to sleep. She had sung that 
tune hundreds of times to her foster child in the old 
days in Missouri, but never had she sung it as she did on 
this day, when her high-pitched, quavering old voice 
seemed filled with a more than human strength, as 
she sent the sounds wailing over the waters. Again 
and again she repeated the familiar refrain which 
crossed the river and seemed to echo back from 
the woods beyond. Downstream went the sound too, 
hurrying after Nancy, vibrating with familiar energy 
upon her dazed brain, and waking hope at last in 
her despairing heart. The sounds came she knew 
not whence — from heaven, maybe — but Nancy heard, 
and hearing, looked up and raised her head from her 
hands. 

And thus she floated out of sight around a bend in 
the river, while old Aunt Monin sang on to the woods 
and her own heart. 

She was alone, for Heaton was wildly dashing along 
the road on one of his horses, while Sambo followed on 
another. There was a sawmill, he was told, farther 
down, where he could get planks and boards, for boats 
there were none on the Kaw Kiver. On, on, they rode. 



298 THE JAY-HAWKERS 

their horses answering to the desperate whip, and after 
them came an ever-gathering troop. 

A Lawrence woman out on the river! Cast adrift 
there to perish by the raiders! 

The woods gave up their hiding fugitives, and they 
too joined in the rush for the sawmill, but none could 
overtake those two who rode so furiously in front. 

With hurried, panting words the news was soon told, 
and eager hands were shoving planks into the river and 
lashing them together. Heaton, wdth a board in his 
hands and Sambo with another had hardly pushed off, 
when a shout came from higher up the banks: " She's 
coming! She's coining! " 

It was all they could do with their clumsy paddles 
to bring their raft into the middle of the current and 
to keep it steady, while witli straining eyes they sought 
to catch sight of that frail bark with its precious 
freight. 

A small dark speck upon the shining river, floating 
down in midstream. How their hearts beat as they 
watched it coming nearer and nearer, until they could 
discern the little figure on the raft! 

It was Nancy kneeling with clasped hands, her long 
black hair falling over her shoulders like a mantle. 
The raft neither swayed this way nor that, but steadily 
pursued its course down the middle of the river, where 
that other raft was waiting to catch the poor castaway. 

Heaton carefully gauged its direction and stood fair 
in its course, as it floated down nearer and ever nearer. 
The moment it came within reach, lying fullstretch on 
his own raft, he seized a corner of the other, and, quick- 
ly passing a rope round the end log, lashed it in two 
places firmly to his own. Then he crept along the raft 
until he was beside Nancy, who seemed all the time as 
one in a dream. 

Tlie successive terrors of the day had nearly be- 



THE RESCUE 299 

numbed the poor girl's brain, so that when she heard 
the voice of her lover pouring disjointed words of love 
and thankfulness into her ears, she thought for a mo- 
ment that the bitterness of dying must be passed, and 
that they had met on the other side of the river of 
death. • 

With infinite tenderness Heaton supported the poor 
little form in his loving arms, as the united rafts, guid- 
ed by Sambo, moved slowly athwart the stream and were 
brought, lower down, safe to shore. 

Some weeks later, in one of the unburned houses of 
Lawrence, a small party was assembled to witness a wed- 
ding. Aunt Monin was superintending that wedding, 
so we can guess whose it was, and she was instructing 
the minister who was to perform the ceremony as to 
what he was to say in his nuptial discourse. 

" An' yo' had oughter 'sist 'pon de fac' how de Lo'd 
he 'p'int his own way fer ter 'venge himself," she ob- 
served, to the entire mystification of the poor man, 
" He don't go fer ter 'venge one killin' by anudder, like 
poor foolish man does. Dat ain't de way o' de Lo'd, 
He cleanse de han' o' de blood o' de father by lottin' it 
save de chile. Dat de way o' spiation he 'p'inted in his 
wisdom." 

Needless to say, these points were not emphasized in 
the discourse delivered by the minister, an omission 
which surprised Aunt Monin, but one which she re- 
solved to supplement at the first opportunity. 

It was a fine sight to behold her in a most glorious 
new turban, standing behind her honey-chile on this 
supreme day when she was going to be united to the 
choice of her heart. Aunt Monin, impressionable like 
all her race, was full of excitement and feeling. Great 
tears flowed down her black cheeks as she stood behind 
her mistress, as quaint a bridesmaid as ever graced a 
20 



300 THE JAY-IIAWKERS 

wedding. Her towering form, with its flaming topknot, 
entirely overshadowed Nancy, and went a good ways to- 
ward eclipsing Captain Heaton himself, tall as he was. 

She wiped away the fast-falling tears with her big 
apron, and, turning a stern eye upon Sambo, who was 
doing duty as groomsman, said, in a voice clearly audi- 
ble to every one present: 

" Yo', Sambo, why don't yo' 'joice? Dish hyar's 
Miss Nancy's weddin', an' if I cotch yo' snufflin' I'll 
bust yer two eyes inter one." 



THE RND 



'^A FRESH AND CHARMING NOVEL/' 

The Last Lady of Mulberry. 

A Story of Italian New York. By Henry Wil- 
ton Thomas. Illustrated by Emil Pollak. i2mo. 
Cloth, $1.50. 

" By far the most complete and satisfying description that 
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"A breezy book. It * goes ' from start to finish, and the ac- 
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" Richly humorous, ' The Last Lady of Mulberry ' is one 
of the most enjoyable little romances we have recently read. It 
presents a picture of the Little Italy known in all our larger cities 
in a way that is more effective than any number of serious dis- 
sertations. ' ' — Providence News. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



BOOKS BY ALLEN RAINE^ 

Each, J2mo, cloth, $1.00; paper, 50 cents. 

Garthowen : A Welsh Idyl. 

" Wales has long waited for her novelist, but he seems to have come at 
last in the person of Mr. Allen Raine, who has at once proved himself a worthy 
interpreter and exponent of the romantic spirit of his country." — London Daily 
Mail. 

By Berwen Banks. 

*' Mr. Raine enters into the lives and traditions of the people, and herein 
lies the charm of his stories." — Chicago Tribune. 

" Interesting from the beginning, and grows more so as it proceeds." — 
San Francisco Bulletin. 

*' It has the same grace of style, strength of description, and dainty sweet- 
hess of its predecessors." — Boston Saturday E-vening Gazette. 

Torn Sails. 

*' It is a little idyl of humble life and enduring love, laid bare before us, 
very real and pure, which in its telling shows us some strong points of Welsh 
character — the pride, the hasty temper, the quick, dying out of wrath. . . . We 
call this a well-written story, interesting alike through its romance and its 
glimpses into another life than ours." — Detroit Free Press. 

"Allen Raine's work is in the right direction and worthy of all honor." 
— Boston Budget. 

Mifanwy: A Welsh Singer. 

" Simple in all its situations, the story is worked up in that touching and 
quaint strain which never grows wearisome no matter how often the lights and 
shadows of love are introduced. It rings true, and. does not tax the imagi- 
nation." — Boston Herald. 

"One of the most charming tales that has come to us of late." — Brooklyn 
Eagle. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



BY ALBERT LEE. 

I2mo, Cloth, $K00; paper, 50 cents. 
IN APPLET0N5' TOWN AND COUNTRY LIBRARY. 

The Gentleman Pensioner. 

The scene of this admirable historical romance 
is laid in the tumultuous England of the sixteenth 
century, at the time when the plots of the parti- 
sans of Mary Stuart against Elizabeth seemed to 
be approaching a culmination. The hero, Queen 
Elizabeth's confidential messenger, has a trust to 
execute which involves a thrilling series of adven- 
tures. This stirring romance has been compared 
to "A Gentleman of France," and it is safe to say 
that no reader will find in its pages any reason for 
flagging interest or will relinquish the book until 
the last page has been reached. 

The Key of the Holy House. 

A Romance of Old Antwerp. 

" A romance of Antwerp in the days of the 
Spanish oppression. Mr. Lee handles it in vigor- 
ous fashion." — London Spectator. 

" This is a fascinating specimen of the historical 
romance at its best, the romance which infuses 
energetic life into the dry facts of history." — 
Philadelphia Press. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



BOOKS BY FRANK T. BULLEN. 



The Log of a Sea-Waif. 

Being Recollections of the First Four Years of my Sea Life. 
Illustrated. Uniform Edition. 1 2mo. Cloth, ^1.50. 

The brilliant author of "The Cruise of the Cachalot" and "Idylls of the 
Sea" presents in this new work the continuous story of the actual experiences 
of his first four years at sea. In graphic and picturesque phrases he has sketched 
the events of voyages to the West Indies, to Bombay and the Coromandel coast, 
to Melbourne and Rangoon. Nothing could be of more absorbing interest 
than this wonderfully vivid account of foks'l humanity, and the adventures and 
strange sights and experiences attendant upon deep-sea voyages. It is easy to see 
in this book an English companion to our own " Two Years before the Mast." 

Idylls of the Sea. 

izmo. Cloth, $1.25. 

" The ' deep-sea wonder and mystery ' which Kipling found in Frank T. 
Bullen's 'Cruise of the Cachalot' is appreciable again in this literary mate's 
new book, 'Idylls of the Sea.' We feel ourselves tossed with him at the 
mercy of the weltering elements," etc. — Philadelphia Record. 

" Amplifies and intensifies the picture of the sea which Mr. Bullen had 
already produced. . . . Calm, shipwreck, the surface and depths of the sea, 
the monsters of the deep, superstitions and tales of the sailors — all find a place 
in this strange and exciting book." — Chicago 2'imes-Hera/d. 

The Cruise of the Cachalot, 

Round the World after Sperm Whales. Illustrated. i2mo. 
Cloth, $1.50. 

"It is immense — there is no other word. I've never read anything that 
equals it in its deep-sea wonder and mystery, nor do I think that any book before 
has so completely covered the whole business of whale fishing, and, at the same 
time, given such real and new sea pictures. I congratulate you most heartily. 
It's a new world you've opened the door to." — Rudyard Kipling. 

"Written with racy freedom of literary expression and luxuriant abundance 
of incident, so that ' The Cruise of the Cachalot ' becomes a story of fascinating 
vividness which thrills the reader and amuses him. The volume is no less en- 
thralling than 'Two Years before the Mast,' and higher praise can not be 
accorded to a story of the sea. ... A book of such extraordinary merit as 
seldom comes to hand." — Philadelphia Press. 

D. APPLE TON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



BOOKS BY CY WARMAN- 



Snow on the Headlight. 

A Story of the Great Burlington Strike, i 2rao. Cloth, $1.25. 

" Mr. Warman holds a unique position among our tellers of tales, since he 
alone is a practical railroad man, who knows the work, and has done it, in all 
its details." — Neiv Tork Mail and Express. 

" Plenty of close-range photographs, interior views, of the great Burlington 
strike are to be found in Cy Warman's book." — Philadelphia Times. 

"It has the great virtue of being a plain story plainly told by one who 
knows. Whatever other impression it may convey to the reader, it conveys 
most strongly the impression of truth. And this plain truth, told in a plain 
way, is a terrible thing. One can feel all the way through that half the tale — 
and perhaps the worst half — is left untold, yet such as stands in print is 
sufficient, and to the reader who cares for something more than the superficial 
adventurous incident of the book it will not be without its instructive 
influence." — Deri'ver Republican. 

*' Told with all the freshness and vividness of an eyewitness." — Philadelphia 
Call. 

" Will be read with interest by all railroad men." — Galesburg {III.) Mail. 

The Story of the Railroad. 

Illustrated. 1 2mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" Far more interesting than the average novel. . . . Mr. Warman's 
volume makes us hear and feel the rush of modern civilization. It gives us 
also the human side of the picture — the struggles of the frontiersman and his 
family, the dismay and cruel wrath of the retreating savage, the heroism of 
the advance guard of the railway builders, and the cutthroat struggles of com- 
peting lines. He does not deal greatly with statistics, but the figures he uses 
help make up the stunning effect of gigantic enterprise. There is not a dull 
page in the book." — New Tori E-vening Post. 

" Intensely interesting — a history that reads like a romance, and compared 
with whose marvelous story indeed most modern romances will seem spiritless 
and tame." — Charleston News and Courier. 

" Worthy to stand on the same shelf with Hough's Story of the Cowboy." 
— Milivaukee yournal. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



By ELEANOR STUART, 

Averages. 

A Novel of Modern New York. i2mo. Cloth, 

"To picture a scheming woman who is also attractive and 
even lovable is not an easy task. . . . To have made such a 
woman plausible and real in the midst of modern New York life 
is what Miss Stuart has achieved in this novel. And the other 
characters reach a similar reality. They are individuals and not 
types, and, moreover, they are not literary echoes. For a writer 
to manage this assortment of original characters with that cool 
deliberation which keeps aloof from them, but remorselessly 
pictures them, is a proof of literary insight and literary skill. It 
takes work as well as talent. The people of the story are real, 
plausible, modern creatures, with the fads and weaknesses of 
to-day."— A^. 2'. Life. 

"The strength of the book is its entertaining pictures of 
human nature and its shrewd, incisive observations upon the 
social problems, great and small, which present themselves in the 
complex life of society in the metropohs. Those who are fond 
of dry wit, a subtle humor, and what Emerson calls ' a philos- 
ophy of insight and not of tradition,' will find 'Averages' a 
novel to their taste. . . . There are interesting love episodes 
and clever, original situations. An author capable of such work 
is to be reckoned with. She has in her the root of the mat^ 
ter. " — A^. r. Mai/ a;i J Express. 

Stonepastures. 

i2mo. Cloth, 75 cents. 

" The story is strongly written, there being a decided Bronte 
flavor about its style and English. It is thoroughly interesting 
and extremely vivid in its portrayal of actual life." — Boston 
Courier. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



DAVID HARUM» 



A Story of American Life. By Edward Noyes 
Westcott. i2mo. Cloth, ^1.50. 

** David Harum deserves to be known by all good Americans; 
he is one of them in boundless energy, in large-heartedness, in 
shrewdness, and in humor." — The Critic, "New York. 

" We have in the character of David Harum a perfectly 
clean and beautiflil study, one of those true natures that every 
one, man, woman, or child, is the better for knowing." — The 
World, Cleveland. 

♦'The book continues to be talked of increasingly. It seems 
to grow in public favor, and this, after all, is the true test of 
merit." — The Tribune, Chicago. 

"A thoroughly interesting bit of fiction, with a well-defined 
plot, a slender but easily followed ♦ love ' interest, some bold and 
finely sketched character drawing, and a perfect gold mine of 
shrewd, dialectic philosophy." — The Call, San Francisco. 

*♦ The newsboys on the street can talk of ' David Harum,' 
but scarcely a week ago we heard an intelligent girl of fifteen, in 
a house which entertains the best of the daily papers and the 
weekly reviews, ask, 'Who is Kipling?'" — The Literary 
World, Boston. 

" A masterpiece of character painting. In David Harum, 
the shrewd, whimsical, horse-trading country banker, the author 
has depicted a type of character that is by no means new to fic- 
tion, but nowhere else has it been so carefully, faithfully, and 
realistically wrought out." — The Herald, Syracuse. 

"We give Edward Noyes Westcott his true place in Amer- 
ican letters — placing him as a humorist next to Mark Twain, as 
a master of dialect above Lowell, as a descriptive writer equal to 
Bret Harte, and, on the whole, as a novelist on a par with the 
best of those who live and have their being in the heart of hearts 
of American readers. If the author is dead — lamentable fact — 
his book will live." — Philadelphia Item. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



FEUX GRAS'S ROMANCES. 



The White Terror. 

A Romance. Translated from the Provencal by Mrs. 
Catharine A. Janvier. Uniform with " The Reds of the 
Midi" and "The Terror." lOmo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" No one has done this kind of work with finer poetic grasp or more 
convincing truthfulness than Felix Gras. . . . This new volume has tlie 
spontaneity, the vividness, the intensity of Interest of a great historical 
romance. " — Philadelphia Times. 

The Terror. 

A Romance of the French Revolution. Uniform with 
"The Reds of the Midi." Translated by Mrs. Catharine 
A. Janvier. i6mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" If F61ix Gras had never done any other work than this novel, it would 
at once give him a place in the front rank of the writers of to-day. . . . ' The 
Terror' is a story that deserves to be widely read, for, while it is of thrilling 
interest, holding the reader's attention closely, there is about it a literary 
quality that makes it worthy of something more than a careless perusal." — 
Brooklyn Eagle. 

The Reds of the Midi. 

An episode of the French Revolution. Translated from 
the Proven9al by Mrs. Catharine A. Janvier. With an 
Introduction by Thomas A. Janvier. With Frontispiece. 
i6mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" 1 have read with great and sustained interest ' The Reds of the 
South,' which you were good enough to present to me. Though a work of 
fiction, it aims at painting the historical features, and .such works if faith- 
fully executed throw more licht than many so-called histories on the true 
roots and causes of the Revolution, which are so widely and so gravely mis- 
understood. As a novel it seems to me to be written with great skill." — 
William E. Gladstone. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



IMPORTANT NEW NOVELS. 
Snow on the Headlight. 

By Cy Warman, author of "The Story of the Railroad," etc 
i2mo. Cloth, ^1.25. 

" As a writer of tales of the modern rail Mr. Warman is without a peer.' 
— Philadelphia Record. 

A Double Thread. 

By Ellen Thorneycroft Fowler, author of "Concerning 
Isabel Carnaby," etc. i zmo. Cloth, ^1.50. 

" Even more gay, clever, and bright than 'Concerning Isabel Carnaby.' " 
— Boston Herald. 

A Duet, with an Occasional Chorus. 

By A. CoNAN Doyle, author of" Uncle Bernac," "Brigadier 
Gerard," etc. 1 2mo. Cloth, ^1.50. 

"It is all very sweet and graceful." — London Telegraph. 

The Mormon Prophet. 

By Lily Dougall, author of " The Mermaids," " The Ma- 
donna of a Day," etc. i 2mo. Cloth, ^1,50. 

"A striking story. . . . Immensely interesting and diverting." — Boston 
Herald. 

Windyhaugh. 

By Graham Travers, author of " Mona Maclean, Medical 
Student," etc. 1 2mo. Cloth, ^1.50. 

"The author draws her characters with the clever strokes of a successful 
artist. . . . The story never for a moment palls." — Boston Herald. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



n. APPLETON AND COMPANY'S PUBLICATIONS. 

BEATRICE WHITBY'S NOVELS. 
Each, i2mo, cloth, $i.oo ; paper, 50 cents. 
(TUN SET. 

"'Sunset' will fully meet the expectations of Miss Whitby's many admirers, 
ivhile for those (if such there be) who may not know her former books it will form a 
very appetizing introduction to these justly popular stories." — London Globe. 

^HE AWAKENING OF MARY FEN WICK. 

" Miss Whitby is far above the average novelist. . . . This story is original 
without seeming ingenious, and powerful without being overdrawn." — New York 
Commercial A dvertiser. 

pART OF THE PROPERTY. 

" The book is a thoroughly good one. The theme is the rebellion of a spirited 
girl against a match which has been arranged for her without her knowledge or con- 
sent. ... It is refreshing to read a novel in which there is not a trace ot slipshod 
■<mjx\i." ^London Spectator. 



A 



MATTER OF SKIIL. 



" A very charming love story, whose heroine is dmwn with original skill snd 
beauty, and whom everybody will love for her splendid if very independent character." 
— Boston Home Journal. 



o 



NE REASON WHY. 



" A remarkably well-written story. . . . The author makes her people speak 
the language of everyday life, and a vigorous and attractive realism pervades the 
book." — Boston Saturday Evening Gazette. 



I 



N THE SUNTIME OF HER YOUTH. 



" The story has a refreshing air of novelty, and the people that figure in it are 
depicted with a vivacity and subtlety that are very aUiactive."— Boston Beacon. 



M' 



ARY FENWICK'S DAUGHTER. 



" A novel which will rank high among those of the present season." — 
Boston A dvertiser. 



o 



N THE LAKE OF LUCERNE, a?id other Stories. 
i6mo. Boards, with specially designed cover, 50 cents. 

'* Six short stories carefully and conscientiously finished, and told with the graceful 
ease of the practiced raconteur." — Literary Digest. 

"Very dainty, not only in mechanical workmanship but in matter and manner."— 
Boston Advertiser. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY. NEW YORK. 



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY'S PUBLICATIONS. 



M- 



ADA CAMBRIDGE'S NOVELS. 
Each, i2mo, paper, 50 cents ; cloth, $i.( 
A TERFAMILIAS. 



'The pleasant impression left is a lasting one." — New York Times. 
" The story is fragrant with the breath of farms, the aroma of the salt sea, and the 
even sweeter essence that exhales from the homely virtues, practiced amid simple sur- 
roundings, where family ties are strong, and where love, loyal and true, reigns as 
queen." — Philadeljihia Item. 



A 



HUMBLE ENTERPRISE. 



" A restful, sympathetic, domestic story, full of tender pathos, excellent char- 
acter drawing, and genuine, lovable human nature— a story to be read, not once, but 
again and again." — LnmJon Daily Mail. 




Y GUARDIAN. 

"A story which will, from first to last, enlist the sympathies of the reader 
by its simplicity of style and fresh, genuine feeling. . . . The author is au Jait at the 
delineation of character."- — Boston Trajtscript, 

HTHE THREE MISS KINGS. 

" An exceedingly strong novel. It is an Australian story, teeming with a cer- 
tain calmness of emotional power that finds expression in a continual outflow of living 
thought and feeling." — Boston Times. 

" The story is told with great brilliancy, the character and society sketching is very 
charming, while delightful incidents and happy surprises abound. It is a triple love 
story, pure in tone, and of very high literary merit." — Chicago Herald. 



N- 



OT ALL IN VAIN. 



" A worthy companion to the best of the author's former efforts, and in some 
respects superior to any of them." — Detroit Free Press. 



A 



MARRIAGE CEREMONY. 



" ' A Marriage Ceremony ' is highly original in conception, its action graceful 
though rapid, and its characters sparkling with that life and sprightliness that have 
made their author rank as a peer of delineators." — Baltimore American. 

^ LITTLE MINX. 

" A thoroughly charming novel, which is just the finest bit of work its author 
has yet accomplished." — Baltimore A mericatt. 



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY'S PUBLICATIONS. 
Miss F. F. MONTRESOR'S BOOKS. 

UNIFORM EDITION. EACH, i6MO, CLOTH. 

T THE CROSS-ROADS. $1.50. 



A 



' Miss Montr6sor has the skill in writing of Olive Schreiner and Miss Harm- 
Jen, added to the fullness of knowledge of life which is a chief factor in the success of 
George Eliot and Mrs. Humphry Ward. . . . There is as much strength in this book 
as in a dozen ordinary successful novels. " — Lotuion Literary World. 

" I commend it to all my readers who like a strong, cheerful, beautiful story. It 
IS one of the truly notable books of the season." — Cincinnati Commercial Tribuiie, 

PALSE COIN OR TRUE? $1.25. 

"One of the few true novels of the day. . . . It is powerful, and touched with a 
delicate insight and strong impressions of life and character. . . . The author's theme 
is original, her treatment artistic, and the book is remarkable for its unflagging inter- 
est." — Philadelphia Reco rd. 

" The tale never flags in interest, and once taken up will not be laid down until the 
last page is finished." — Boston Budget. 

" A well-written novel, with well-depicted characters and well-chosen scenes."— 
Chicago News. 

" A sweet, tender, pure, and lovely story." — Buffalo Commercial. 

"T^HE ONE WHO LOOKED ON. $1.25. 

^ "A tale quite unusual, entirely unlike any other, full of a strange power and 
realism, and touched with a fine humor." — London IVorld. 

"One of the most remarkable and powerful of the year's contributions, worthy to 
stand with Ian M.a.c\artn'i."— British IVeei-ly. 

"One of the rare books which can be read with great pleasure and recommended 
without reservation. It is fresh, pure, sweet, and pathetic, with a pathos which is per- 
fectly wholesome." — St. Paul Globe. 

"The story is an intensely human one, and it is delightfully told. . . . The author 
shows a marvelous keenness in character analysis, and a marked ingenuity in the de- 
velopment oihsTsiory."— Boston Advertiser. 



I: 



NTO THE HIGH W A YS AND HEDGES. $1.50. 



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reality and well-chosen expression, are the most notable features of a book that has not 
the ordinary defects of such qualities. With all its elevation of utterance and spirit- 
uality of outlook and insight it is wonderfully free from overstrained or exaggerated 
matter, and it has glimpses of humor. Most of the characters arc vivid, yet there ,nre 
restraint and sobriety in their treatment, and almost all are carefully and consistently 
evolved." — London A thcnisitm. 

" ' Into the Highways and Hedges ' is a book not of promise only, but of high 
achievement. It is original, powerful, artistic, humorous. It places the author at a 
hi lund in the rank of those artists to whom we look for the skillful presentation of strong 
personal impressions of life and character." —London Daily Ne7vs. 

"The pure idealism of 'Into the Highways and Hedges ' does much to redeem 
modern fiction from the reproach it has brought upon itself. . . . The story is origiDal, 
and told with great refinement."— Philadflphia Public Ledger. 



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY. NEW YORK. 



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY'S PUBLICATfONS. 



IV:. 



HAMLIN GARLAND'S BOOKS. 
Uniform edition. Each, i2mo, cloth, $1.25. 

'AY SIDE COURTSHIPS. 



' A faithful and an entertaining portrayal of village and rural life in the West. 
. . No one can read this collection of short stories without feeling that he is mastir 
)f the subject."— C/i/t-a^t' Journal. 

" One of the most delightful books of short stories which have come to our notice in 
a long time." — Boston Times. 

" The historian of the plains has done nothing better than this group of Western 
stories. Wayside courtships they are, but full of tender feeling and breathing a fine, 
strong sentiment." — Louisville Times. 



J 



ASON ED WARDS. An Average Man. 



' The average man in the industrial ranks is presented in this story in as lifelike 
a manner as Mr. Bret Harte presented the men in the California minmg c.imps thirty 
years ago. ... A story which will be read with absorbing interest by hundreds oj 
workingnien." — Boston Herald. 



A 



MEMBER OF THE THIRD HOUSE. 

Story of Political Warfare. 



" The work is, in brief, a keen and searching study of lobbies and lobbyists. At 
least, it is the lobbies that furnish its motive. For the rest, the story is narrated with 
much power, and the characters of Brennan the smart wire-puller, the millionaire Davis, 
the reformer Tuttle, and Evelyn Ward are skillfully individualized. . . . Mr. Garland's 
people have this peculiar characteristic, that they have not had a literary world made 
for them to live in. They seem to move and act in the cold gray light of reality, and 
in that trying light they are evidently human." — Chicago Record, 



A 



SPOIL OF OFFICE. A Story of the Modern 
West. 

" It awakens In the mind a tremendous admiration for an artist who could so find 
his way through the mists of familiarity to an artistic haven. . . . In reading ' A Spoil 
of Office ' one feels a continuation of interest extending from the fictional into the actual, 
with no break or divergence. And it seems to be only a question of waiting a day or 
two ere one will run up against the characters in real life " 



A 



ALSO, 

LITTLE NORSK • or, 01' Pap's Flaxen. i6mo. 
Boards, 50 cents. 

"True feeling, the modesty of Nature, rnd the sure touch of art are the marks of 
!his pure and graphic story, which has added a bright leaf to the author's laurels." — 
Chicago Tribune. 

" A delightful story, full of humor of the finest kind, genuine pathos, and enthralling 
in its vivid human interest." — London Academy. 



D, APPLETON AND COMPANY. NEW YORK. 



By MAARTEN MAARTENS. 



Each, I2mo, cloth, $1.50. Uniform Edition. 

Some Women I have Known. (.Nearly ready) 

" Maarten Maartens is one of the best novel writers of this or 
any day." — Chicago Times-Herald. 

" Maarten Maartens stands head and shoulders above the 
average novelist of the day in intellectual subtlety and imaginative 
power." — Boston Beacon. 

Her Memory. With Photogravure Portrait. 

" Maarten Maartens took us all by storm some time ago with 
his fine story christened ' God's Fool.' He established himself 
at once in our affections as a unique creature who had something 
to say and knew how to say it in the most fascinating way. He is 
a serious story writer, who sprang into prominence when he first 
put his pen to paper, and who has ever since kept his work up to 
the standard of excellence which he raised in the beginning." — 
New York Herald. 

The Greater Glory. A Story of High Life. 

" It would take several columns to give any adequate idea of 
the superb way in which the Dutch novelist has developed his 
theme and wrought out one of the most impressive stories of the 
period. ... It belongs to the small class of novels which one 
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God's Fool. 

"Throughout there is an epigrammatic force which would 
make palatable a less interesting story of human lives or one less 
deftly told." — London Saturday Review. 

Joost Avelingh. 

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life give the book a charm peculiarly its own." — New York 
Herald. 



APPLETON AND COMPANY, NEW YORK. 



D. APPLETON AND COMPANY'S NEW BOOKS. 
FAMILIAR FISH : Their Habits and Capture. 

A Practical Book on Fresh-Water Game Fish. By Eugene 
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illustrations. Uniform with "Familiar Trees," "Familiar 
Flowers," and other books by F. Schuyler Mathews, i2mo. 
Cloth, $1.50. 

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NEW EDITION. 

THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE. 

An episode of the American Civil War. By Stephen Crane, au- 
thor of "The Little Regiment," '• The Third Violet," "Mag- 
gie," etc. New edition, with Portrait and Biographical Sketch. 
i2mo. Cloth, $1.00. 

Tliis new editioi. of " The Red Badge " is issued in response to the general demand for 
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connection with the example of his work which I^as made the deepest impression. 

NEW EDITION. 

CONCERNING ISABEL CARNABY. 

A Novel. By ELLEN Thorneycroft Fowler, author of " The 
Farringdons," "A Double Thread," etc. With Portrait and 
Biographical and Critical Sketch. i2mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

NOW READY. 

THE LAW IN ITS RELATIONS TO PHYSICIANS. 

By Arthur N. Taylor, LL. B., of the New York Bar i2mo. 
560 pages. Law cloth, $2.00. 

The object of the work is to place within the reach of every physician a systematic 
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REVISED EDITIONS. 

ApplelooB* Oeneral Guide to the United States and Canada. Edition of 1900. With numer- 
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Appletons' OictliNiary of New Vork and Vicinity. An alphabetically arranged index to all 
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Appletons^ Canadian Guide-Book. Bv Charles G D. Roberts. A Guide for Tourists 
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THE NOVELS OF THE SEASON. 

AN EPIC OF THE WEST. 

THE GIRL AT THE HALFWAY HOUSE. 

A Romance. By E. HOUGH, author of "The Story of 
the Cowboy." i2mo. Cloth, $1.50. 

" The Girl at the Halfway House " has been called an American epic oy critics 
who have read the manuscript. A dramatic picture of a battle in the civil war, 
which has been compared to scenes in "The Red Badge of- Courage," opens the 
story. After this " Day of War" there comes " The Day of the Buffalo." The 
reader follows the course of the hero and his friend, a picturesque old army vet- 
eran, to the frontier, then found on the Western plains. The th^ d part of the" 
story is called " Tlie Day of the Cattle," and the fourth part o' the story " The 
Day of the Plow." While this story is a novel with a love n- jtive, it is perhaps 
most striking as a romance of the picturesque and dramatic days of early Western 
life. It shows the movement westward, and the free play of primitive forces in 
the opening of a new country. Nothing has been written on the opening of the 
West to excel this romance in epic quality, and its historic value, as well as its 
freshness, vividness, and constant interest, should appeal to every American 
reader. 

DR. BARTON'S NEW NOVfiL. 

PINE KNOT. A Story of Kentucky Life. 

By WILLIAM E. BARTON, author of "A Hero in Home- 
spun." Illustrated. i2mo. Cloth, $1.^0. 

" Pine Knot " is full of the atmosphere of the quaint mountain life with 
its wealth of amusing peculiarities, and it also has a historical value, since it 
pictures conditions attendant upon' the aniislavery movement and the days of 
the war. The interest of a treasure search runs through the tale, since the au- 
thor has adroitly utilized a mountain legend of a lost mine. " Pine Knot " is a 
lomance " racy of the soil " in a true sense, a story fresh, strong, and absorbing 
in its interest tiiroughoat. 

A GREAT WAR NOVEL. 

IN CIRCLING CAMPS. 

A Romance of the American Civil War. Bv J. A. 
ALTSHELER, author of "A Herald of the "West," 
' ' A Soldier of Manhattan, " etc. 1 2mo. Cloth, $ i . 50. 

" Mr. Altsheler has an enviable reputation. His method is that of Fenimore 
Cooper. He tells a good, strong, liuman story for its own sake, and not for tlie 
sake of showing off his talent as a literary story-toller. He gives us some great 
baitle pieces, notably Shiloh and Gettysburg. His admiration of the nobler 
■ lualities of ' old friends turned foes' is so hearty and so sincerely dramatic that 
we luve and pity the terrible valor of hoth."—/iic//afa Henry Stoddard, in the 
j\eiu York Mail and Express. 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK. .